U.S. eases travel and trade restrictions with Cuba

The U.S. has begun easing travel restrictions to Cuba.

Amendments in federal regulations announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security and U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control are expected to make it easier for air service, exports and travel to Cuba.

The changes in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations and the Export Administration Regulations, which went into effect Wednesday, will make it easier to do business and travel to Cuba. 

“After 50 years of regulatory inertia, I am pleased to see a sustained effort to ease antiquated travel and trade restrictions toward Cuba," U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said. "Hopefully, such progress in the effort to normalize U.S.-Cuba relations spurs Congress to consider more permanent solutions, starting with legislation to restore the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba.”

With the support of a bipartisan coalition of 46 senators, Flake has introduced The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act. With passage of the bill by the Senate and House, and the president's signature, the bill would end restrictions on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens and legal residents of the U.S. These restrictions have been in place since the laws were enacted in 1996 and 2000.

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