The White House has issued a policy directive intended to promote “authorized engagements with Cuba to advance cooperation on areas of mutual interest, and increase travel to, commerce with, and the free flow of information to Cuba.” To this end, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security have announced amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations that will lift restrictions on travelers bringing Cuba-origin alcohol, cigars and other products back to the United States for personal use.

According to the announcement, OFAC considers “personal use” of imported merchandise “to include giving the item to another individual as a personal gift, but not the transfer of the item to another person for payment or other consideration.” In addition, the new rules permit a range of specific healthcare, humanitarian, trade, and commerce transactions, and authorize “exports of certain consumer goods that are sold online or through other means directly to eligible individuals in Cuba for their personal use.”

“The U.S. private sector, scientific and medical researchers, agriculture industry, foundations, and other groups have new avenues for collaboration that can provide opportunities for Cuban entrepreneurs, scientists, farmers, and other professionals,” states the policy directive. “At the same time, increased access to the internet is boosting Cubans’ connectivity to the wider world and expanding the ability of the Cuban people, especially youth, to exchange information and ideas.”