Background

Continuing the thawing of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, President Obama notified Congress April 14 that he intends to rescind Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Cuba was placed on the list in 1982, but a recent review concluded that Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the past six months and has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future. The removal will be effective May 29 unless Congress approves a joint resolution against it.

However, senior administration officials said this step will likely have little practical effect on companies seeking to do business with Cuba. Removal from the list will lift specific measures, including a ban on defense exports and sales, certain controls on exports of dual-use items, and restrictions on economic and financial assistance. However, officials said that even once that happens, most transactions involving Cuba or Cuban nationals will continue to be prohibited under the Cuban Asset Control Regulations enforced by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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