On October 17, 2016 the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) published respective amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations to further expand opportunities in Cuba for U.S. businesses and individuals in line with the administration's policy of economic and diplomatic détente with the island. These amendments are on top of prior amendments published by OFAC and BIS in January 2015, September 2015, January 2016 and March 2016, and will enable more scientific collaboration, infrastructure development, private sector growth, and direct sales to individuals in Cuba, among other areas.
Notably for U.S. businesses, this newest round of amendments includes authorization for the following activities:
- Joint Medical Research and Cuban-origin Pharmaceuticals: Engaging in joint commercial and non-commercial medical research projects with Cuba, and working with Cuba on obtaining U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Cuban-origin pharmaceuticals.
- Infrastructure Development: Providing services to Cuba related to developing, repairing, maintaining and enhancing certain public infrastructure in Cuba to benefit the Cuban people.
- Contingent Contracts: Entering into contingent contracts for transactions currently prohibited by the embargo, provided that performance is made expressly contingent on general or specific authorization by OFAC and any other relevant U.S. agency.
- Exports of Consumer Goods for Personal Use: Exporting eligible consumer goods sold online or through other means directly to eligible individuals in Cuba for their personal use.