US government further eases Cuba sanctions

Getty Images Employees and guests of the newly reopened U.S. Embassy attend the flag-raising ceremony August 14, 2015 in Havana, Cuba.

The U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments said on Friday they have taken measures to further ease sanctions on Cuba as part of the normalization of diplomatic relations.

The measures will take effect on Monday and will further facilitate travel to the Caribbean country, expand telecommunications services, allow “certain persons” to establish offices or other facilities, as well as open and maintain bank accounts in Cuba, both agencies said in a release.

“Today’s announcement underscores the Administration’s commitment to promote constructive change for the Cuban people. These regulatory changes build on the revisions implemented earlier this year and will further ease sanctions related to travel, telecommunications and internet-based services, business operations in Cuba, and remittances,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said.

Once the new measures take effect, authorized vessels will be able to travel nonstop to Cuba as well as establish businesses to provide telecom and Internet-based services in the island.

They will also allow for Cuban-developed mobile apps to be imported to the U.S.

“The regulations published today are designed to support the emerging Cuban private sector and bring us one step closer to achieving President Obama’s historic policy goals,” Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said.

The Obama administration first announced the start of the normalization process in December.

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