The latest on Russia sanctions from the International Trade and Supply Chain Team
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On Tuesday, July 12, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order in order to amend Executive Order 13761, which was issued by the Obama Administration in January of 2017. Today’s amendments to EO 13761 allow the State Department additional time to prepare its report on whether the Government of Sudan has sustained the positive activities that the Obama Administration recognized when it originally issued EO 13761.  EO 13761 originally required the report to be delivered by July 12, 2017, but President Trump’s new order pushes that deadline back to October 12, 2017.
Continue Reading President Trump Extends Deadline for Report on Sudan Sanctions and Temporarily Extends Easing of Sanctions

In agreeing to review two rulings by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on President Trump’s March 6, 2017, Executive Order, the Supreme Court reinstated certain provisions of the Executive Order that the lower courts had blocked. The March 6th Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” was to suspend visa issuance for individuals from six countries, including Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days. This provision, often referred to as the “travel ban,” effectively prohibits travel to the United States for individuals from the six affected countries.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Allows Major Provisions of Travel Ban to Go Into Effect

President Trump today announced changes to U.S.-Cuban sanctions policy which will reverse amendments made by the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016 intended to normalize relations with Cuba. President Trump stated that these changes will include eliminating unsponsored individual travel under the “people-to-people” program and restricting transactions with Cuban military, intelligence and security agencies. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security have not yet revised their rules to formally implement today’s announced policy changes, however OFAC has provided preliminary FAQ guidance. According to OFAC, today’s announced changes will not become effective until the new regulations are issued.
Continue Reading President Trump Announces Significant Shift in Cuba Policy

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx was among the passengers aboard the historic flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Santa Clara, Cuba today as JetBlue provided the first regularly scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Cuba in 55 years. Scheduled air service from the United States to Cuba is the most recent step in a string of important changes in the normalization of relations between the two nations.  As a result of these changes, which have been previously reported on here, a U.S. embassy was opened, direct mail service has been restored, Carnival cruise line has begun trips to Cuba and various regulatory changes have been made to ease travel, trade and financial transactions with Cuba.
Continue Reading Scheduled Flights to Cuba Resume After More Than 50 Years

Shortly before President Obama’s upcoming visit to Cuba, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) and U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) have released new rule amendments in order to permit increased travel, financial transactions and trade between the two countries.

These amended rules remove the sponsoring organization requirement from OFAC’s general license allowing “people to people” travel to Cuba. As a result, U.S. persons may now to travel to Cuba much more easily on their own accord under the “people to people” program. However, persons doing so must still must maintain a full-time schedule of meaningful interactive activities, keep appropriate documentation and satisfy other requirements. Travel to or within Cuba for tourism purposes remains prohibited.Continue Reading Amended Rules Authorize Further Travel To and Trade With Cuba

New legislation, included as part of the government spending bill, enacts new changes to the visa waiver program (VWP), imposing additional restrictions on travelers from VWP countries.  The new changes require a consular interview for nationals of, or individuals who have traveled to, countries that have supported terrorism or other “high risk” countries, including Syria, Sudan, Iran, and Iraq, since March 2011.
Continue Reading Visa Waiver Program Changes Included in New Spending Bill

The U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of the Treasury have announced additional changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and Export Administration Regulations intended to facilitate travel, expand telecommunications and internet-based services, and authorize certain business operations in Cuba. Published on September 21, these new policy changes take effect immediately.  Among the changes are specific provisions aimed at expanding U.S. presence in Cuba:
Continue Reading New Policy Changes Further Ease Trade Restrictions with Cuba

While Iran has taken center stage in current foreign policy discussions, Congress and the Administration are keenly aware that Cuba is on deck. Following President Obama’s historic meeting with Cuban President Raúl Castro and his announcement of intent to remove Cuba from the list of states that sponsor terrorism, members of Congress have responded by introducing bills both supporting and opposing the President’s policies, including:
Continue Reading Lawmakers Continue Taking Sides on Cuba while Cities Begin Taking Action

After more than a half-century, the U.S. has finally taken steps toward normalizing its relations with Cuba. In a series of executive actions on December 17, 2014, President Obama announced changes to existing regulations that will ease sanctions against Cuba.

U.S. and Cuban officials will meet on February 27, 2015 at the State Department to continue talks of restoring ties and ending the embargo. Likely sticking points will be the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba’s continuing appearance on the U.S. list of countries that support and sponsor terrorism, the potential return of Guantanamo Bay to Cuba, and U.S. support for Cuban political dissidents.

The executive actions alone however offer various opportunities for U.S. and Cuban businesses. This is particularly true in industries such as telecommunications and agriculture where technological and scientific advances could lead to improved infrastructure and increased production.Continue Reading U.S.-Cuba Relations

The U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce today announced new regulations intended to significantly loosen the embargo imposed against Cuba in 1963.  The changes to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR), administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), will go into effect on January 16, 2015, when the rules are published in the Federal Register.  The new rules are part of the implementation of the Obama Administration’s policy shift concerning Cuba, which was announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014.
Continue Reading Obama Administration Releases Regulations Easing Cuba Sanctions