Rob Sequin | Havana Journal
OFAC has been busy lately. In two days OFAC has released four actions related to Cuba.
In order of release:
1. Updated list of authorized providers of air, travel, and remittance forwarding services to Cuba.
We have posted all of the licensed Cuba Service Providers.
2. Personal Communication Services General License
We posted an article about this relaxation of the US trade Embargo that allows US based communications companies to export their products into Cuba.
3. Release of Civil Penalties Information
During the Bush Administration we regularly saw violations of the Cuba Sanctions but there were very few in 2009 and this is the first Cuba related Civil Penalty of 2010 and as you will read, it is a small one: One individual has agreed to a settlement totaling $525 for allegedly dealing in property in which Cuba or a Cuban national had an interest. At some point in time between December 2004 and February 2005, the individual allegedly purchased Cuban-origin cigars from the Internet.
4. Payment of Cuba-related Cash in Advance during Fiscal Year 2010
Today OFAC released a reinterpretation that is very favorable for US Cuba trade, specifically US agricultural companies and farmers. In simple terms, OFAC has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations that contains a rewording of the term “payment of cash in advance” for US agricultural sales to Cuba.
There are two ways that Cuba can pay for US agriculture purchases
1. Cash in advance
2. Financing by third country financial institutions
In 2005, the Bush Administration modified the term “cash in advance” to mean that payment (by Cuba to the selling company in the US) would have to be made PRIOR to shipment of the goods leaving the US port. This language put Cuban agricultural purchases at risk because the goods could be deemed to be owned by Cuba which means they could then be subject to seizure by a US court to pay off private damage awards from past lawsuits against the Cuban government.
OFAC has now modified the “cash in advance” terminology to read “payment before the transfer of title to, and control of, the exported items to the Cuban purchaser.” So, this change in language allows the purchased goods to leave the US port before payment from the Cuban government.
There are other minute changes that you can read for yourself in this recent OFAC action .