Cuba to Establish New Customs Regs as of September

Ivette Leyva Martínez (Café Fuerte)

paquetesHAVANA TIMES — As part of a new round of measures aimed at combatting the trafficking of different products through messengers or travelers known as “mules”, Cuban authorities will begin applying drastic restrictions on the import of items for personal use, household appliances and computer equipment as of September of this year.

Resolution 206 of 2014, issued by Cuban Customs on June 30th, sets down strict limits on the number of items that can be declared for personal use for as many as 381 different products.

According to the 36-page document obtained by CafeFuerte, the resolution will come into effect on September 1 this year. The Cuban government has not yet officially announced the new measures that will apply to all travellers.

Custom authorities will be entitled to confiscate all items in excess of the established limit. When a customs official considers that a traveler is guilty of “repeated imports of a particular product,” they will be authorized to confiscate the luggage in its entirety.

Less Products

The new regulations imply a drastic reduction in the number of products that may be imported into the country under Resolution 320 of 2011.

Electronic and computer devices are among the most severely affected by the new regulations. In addition to the fact that the number of such products that may be brought into the country has been reduced by half in nearly all cases, travelers will require special permits issued by the Cuban Ministry of Communications (under the supervision of State Security) to bring any of the following into the country:

– Wireless fax (only one allowed)
– Phone switchboards (1)
– Wireless microphones and their accessories (1)
– Routers and switchers (1)
– Walkie-talkies (1)

The number of food, personal hygiene, clothing and footwear products allowed into the country will also be reduced significantly. Below are some examples illustrating the new restrictions that will come into effect in September:

Personal computer21
Compact discs20050
Preserves of any kind5020
Dairy products of any kind3010
Disposable razors10020
Hair styling equipment10024
Panties4 docenas2 docenas
Bathing suits105
Baseball caps4010
Women’s shoes3015 (5 de vestir, 5 sandalias o chancletas, 5 deportivo)
Men’s shoes3015 (5 de vestir, 5 sandalias o chancletas, 5 deportivo)

A second resolution issued by Cuban Customs (Resolution 207 of 2014) complements these restrictions and establishes new duties (without specifying whether these are in Cuban pesos or Cuban Convertible Pesos) applicable to personal items brought by travelers.

According to Resolutions 222 and 223 of 2012, promulgated by the Ministry of Finance and Prices, all passengers who carry items for a value above $ 50.99 pesos will have to pay a duty of 10 Cuban pesos (CUP) or Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC) for every kilogram in excess of the established limit. The 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of personal luggage allotted will remain tax-free.

Since May of this year, Cuban Customs has issued several warnings to passengers who travel to Cuba carrying packages for third parties, pointing out this could lead not only to the confiscation of the items transported but to criminal proceedings as well.

Custom authorities are focusing their efforts on detecting drugs concealed in luggage and electronic devices that could be used to skirt restrictions on Internet use on the island.

25 thoughts on “Cuba to Establish New Customs Regs as of September

  • Cuba restrictions are related to the outflow of Cuba’s scarce capital resource.
    As the wealth of Cuba increases with massive increase in tourism
    and when the offshore oil deposit is developed and revenue flows
    in then all these restrictions will disappear. China was forced last week to put on a restriction out flows of capital resulting in a 92% decline on Chinese capital outflow into foreign real estate. You live by a budget unless you are ultra wealthy and so you control your outflow of capital/savings so that you don’t end up in debt above your ability to pay that debt. Cuba is financially over its head in debt which Russia a year ago forgave a billion+. Currency controls are in non-communist countries also. It is not a communist ideology but rather a capitalist ideology. I favour the later but I understand economics enough to know that excessive outflow of funds can lead to bankruptcy. The people of Cuba would be even worse off. You gift givers, do you have enough resources financially to bring as gifts billions to support the free Cuban education, medical system and food supplement programs?
    If you are American is there free Univ education for all and medical? It sounds
    to me that many of you do not understand country finances and economics
    and some are merely haters that look for any excuse to degrade.
    Cuba has incompetence in governance because of people in positions of authority via Favoritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism and then there is corruption.
    Yep, it’s not just the US that has these, most countries in the world do and it is not related to capitalism nor communism, it’s people doing what is best for their own which is a form of self interest over the interest of the majority. Is this resolvable, not likely, it is human trait to care for one’s own, corruption excluded.

  • so, we can bring a digital/electronic sewing machine in?

  • I used to blame the US embargo for a lot of the problems in Cuba, and yes, the embargo in my opinion is stupid and should end (I know many who comment here disagree) However, as I have made more friends in Cuba (I’ve been many times since 2003), I have come to see that the embargo is a tool used by the Castro regime to blame all that is wrong. The controls of the Cuban government in Cuba are stifling. You can’t do anything without “figuring it out” (how to skirt onerous controls) and using the underground and black market. As Gordon stated below, these controls are to for the Cuban American “mules”, not for day to day tourists. The US and every other country has rules about imports. I would have no issue with Cuban putting more controls on import if they had even a whiff of a market where people could buy goods in county. They don’t There is nothing. Want some nail polish? Nope. A disposable razor? Nope. deodorant? Nope. Tires? Nope. A new bed mattress. LOL. in your dreams. A frig? If you have $1500 for a $400 refrigerator, then it’s all yours. And, then of douse there is the $85,000 used Volvo with 90,000 miles on it These are but tiny examples of why these new regulations are so awful. There is nothing on the other side.

    However, economics and regulation seem to be on parallel paths in Cuba never to cross. Last may after talking about the car sale debacle in Cuba, I asked a professor of finance at the University of Havana if anyone in the government ever called him for advice. He just laughed.

  • The only purpose on this regulations is to push visitors and people in Cuba to buy the stuff that government is selling in the state owned stores.
    The problem comes when you have to pay $50,000 for a used Hunday or $100 for a mini microwave.
    This is not the first time this kind of regulations comes and goes, as everything else in that country where things work against common logic, but according to the interest of a handful people in power.

  • Thanks for the info EyesOfMarch

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