Trump tightens up Cuba travel and trade rules |

Trump tightens up Cuba travel and trade rules

-The Hagstrom Report

The Trump administration is scheduled to publish in the Federal Register today rules that would make it more difficult for Americans to travel to Cuba and to do business with the island.

The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control, and the State Department have all scheduled rules for publication.

It was not immediately clear whether the rules would affect U.S. agricultural sales to Cuba, but it will make travel more difficult.

The Washington Post noted, “Under the new rules, most individual visits to Cuba will no longer be allowed, and U.S. citizens will again have to travel as part of a licensed group, accompanied by a group representative.”

“Americans will also be barred from staying at a long list of hotels and from patronizing restaurants, stores and other enterprises that the State Department has determined are owned by or benefit members of the Cuban government, specifically its security services,” the Post story said.

The National Foreign Trade Council said the new rules are “misguided.”

“Allowing people-to-people travel only as part of organized trips will limit the contact that Americans can have with everyday Cubans on the island and take money out of the pockets of Cuban entrepreneurs and home-stay hosts,” Jake Colvin of the NFTC said in a news release.

“Restrictions on engaging while traveling with individual Cuban entities will be confusing for travelers and require significant U.S. government resources to enforce,” he said.

“The new restrictions on American businesses in Cuba are also counterproductive,” Colvin said.

“In particular, restricting American companies from participating in the special Mariel economic zone prevents Americans from engaging in a fledgling economic experiment by the Cuban government that could potentially benefit Cuban workers and the Cuban people.”