Certain Goods and Services Now Eligible for Importation into the United States from Cuba

Morgan Lewis
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The U.S. Department of State published its Section 515.582 List that outlines which goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs are eligible for importation into the United States.

In accordance with the Cuban policy changes announced by U.S. President Barack Obama on December 17, 2014, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued implementing regulations on January 16, 2015. A new Section 515.582 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 C.F.R. Part 515—the CACR) authorized the importation into the United States of certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs as determined by the U.S. Department of State. However, Section 515.582 as issued on January 16 did not state what those goods and services actually are. Section 515.582 states the following:

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized to engage in all transactions, including payments, necessary to import certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs as determined by the State Department as set forth on the State Department's Section 515.582 List, located here.

Note 1 to §515.582: As of the date of publication in the Federal Register of the final rule including this provision, January 16, 2015, the State Department's Section 515.582 List has not yet been published on its Web site. The State Department's Section 515.582 list also will be published in the Federal Register, as will any changes to the list.

Note 2 to §515.582: Imports authorized by this section are not subject to the limitations set forth in §515.560(c).

On February 13, 2015, the Department of State issued its Section 515.582 List, as follows below.

Goods

The goods whose import is authorized by Section 515.582 “are goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as demonstrated by documentary evidence” that are “imported into the United States directly from Cuba,” except for goods specified in the following sections/chapters of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS):

  • Section I: Live Animals; Animal Products (all chapters)
  • Section II: Vegetable Products (all chapters)
  • Section III: Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils and Their Cleavage Products; Prepared Edible Fats; Animal or Vegetable Waxes (all chapters)
  • Section IV: Prepared Foodstuffs; Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar; Tobacco and Manufactured Tobacco Substitutes (all chapters)
  • Section V: Mineral Products (all chapters)
  • Section VI: Products of the Chemical or Allied Industries (chapters 28–32; 35–36, and 38)
  • Section XI: Textile and Textile Articles (chapters 51–52)
  • Section XV: Base Metals and Articles of Base Metal (chapters 72–81)
  • Section XVI: Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Electrical Equipment; Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts and Accessories of Such Articles (all chapters)
  • Section XVII: Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels, and Associated Transportation Equipment (all chapters)
  • Section XIX: Arms and Ammunition; Parts and Accessories Thereof (all chapters)

Accordingly, any goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs that do not fall under one of the above-enumerated HTS categories are now eligible for importation. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who engage in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to Section 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed that was issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.

“Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction” means the following for purposes of the CACR:

  • (a) Any individual, wherever located, who is a citizen or resident of the United States;
  • (b) Any person within the United States;
  • (c) Any corporation, partnership, association, or other organization organized under U.S. laws or the laws of any state, territory, possession, or district of the United States; and
  • (d) Any corporation, partnership, association, or other organization, wherever organized or doing business, that is owned or controlled by persons specified in items (a) or (c).

This Section 515.582 List does not supersede or excuse compliance with any additional requirements in U.S. law or regulation, including the relevant import duties as set forth on the HTS.

The Department of State stated that the $400 monetary limit set forth in Section 515.560(c)(3) of the CACR for travelers who bring back goods from Cuba as accompanied baggage would not apply for any goods now authorized for import under Section 515.582.

Services

The authorized services pursuant to 31 C.F.R. §515.582 are services supplied by an independent Cuban entrepreneur in Cuba, as demonstrated by documentary evidence. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction who engage in import transactions involving services supplied by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to Section 515.582 are required to obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed that was issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.

Payments

All payment transactions necessary to import goods and services authorized by Section 515.582 are also authorized. We recommend that payment documentation reference Section 515.582 to avoid payment rejection.

The Department of State, in consultation with other federal agencies, reserves the right to update the list periodically. Any subsequent updates will take effect when published on the Web page of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation. Updates will also be published in the Federal Register.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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