President Obama Asks Congress To Remove Cuba From List Of State Sponsors Of Terrorism

The White House announced on Tuesday that President Obama intends to remove Cuba from the Government’s list of state sponsors of terrorism.  In a message to Congress, the President said that Cuba “has not provided any support for international terrorism” over the last six months.  He also told Congress that Cuba “has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

The President’s decision to remove Cuba from the list eliminates a major obstacle to the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The issue of Cuba being on the list of nations that sponsor terrorism has helped delay the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana.  Its being on the list also has impeded Cuba from doing business with American banks, a cornerstone to increase commerce between the two nations.

The President’s final decision followed a State Department review of Cuba’s presence on the list.  President Obama ordered a review of Cuba’s status in December, after announcing that he would seek normal ties with the island nation

Cuba will officially be removed from the terrorism list 45 days after the President’s message was sent to Congress. Lawmakers could vote to block the move during the 45 day period. However, any such resolution to block its removal is likely to be vetoed by Mr. Obama.

US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba Takes Off With the Goal of Normalizing Relations Between the United States and Cuba

On December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba and reverse a more than 50-year policy of isolation. President Obama’s move to establish relations and ease sanctions against Cuba stirred the interest of U.S. business. In particular, the American agricultural industry, which is anxious to increase its market share of the Cuban food market, has led the support for President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba.[1]

On January 8, 2015, more than 25 companies and farm trade associations joined together at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to launch the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.  The goal of the Coalition is to promote collaborative action for improved agricultural trade relations with Cuba. The Coalition believes that the improvement of agricultural trade between the U.S. and Cuba is the foundation for building successful and enduring relations between both countries.  Continue reading “US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba Takes Off With the Goal of Normalizing Relations Between the United States and Cuba”

U.S. Business Embraces President’s Plan For A New Course On Cuba

Yesterday, President Obama announced wide-ranging adjustments of US policy towards Cuba including opening an embassy in Havana. The Obama Plan involves a series of measures aimed at increasing trade between the two countries. The basic premise of the plan is to permit certain exports to Cuba, relax restrictions on financial transactions and repeal limits on remittances to the island. Secretary of State, John Kerry, will begin to implement the initiative. He is to “immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.”

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Cuba Prepares For Its First Free-Trade Manufacturing Zone

The Cuban government recently issued rules and regulations for companies that will operate in the first free-trade manufacturing zone in Cuba. Located in the Port of Mariel, thirty miles west of Havana, the Mariel Special Development Zone will house manufacturing plants that assemble and make products for both domestic and international markets, as well as a megaport designed to eventually replace freight operations at the Port of Havana which cannot accommodate large ships. A highway and railroad infrastructure is also being built to provide access to the zone.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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