US Authorizes Vehicle Sales to Private Enterprises in Cuba

According to Aparicio’s example, “a $20,000 car should have $6,000 of taxes and $10,000 for logistics and documentation added to the price.” (Univision/Screenshot

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department granted a license to the Miami company Apacargo Express

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – The company Apacargo Express, based in Miami, has obtained a license to export new and used cars, trucks, trailers, tractors and agricultural equipment to Cuba, according to Univision 23 journalist Mario Vallejo.

The authorization, 10 million dollars, was approved by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department as an exemption from the embargo. As a condition, the sale must be to private entrepreneurs and, in no case, to the State.

“At the moment it is aimed at small and medium-sized companies [SMEs] so that they can import cars for their use,” Eduardo Aparicio, owner of the authorized business, told the reporter.

He explained that there is a high demand, and the first step is to ask the importing company for a budget to know what the final value of the operation will be. Aparicio said that Cuban customs does not charge many taxes, but it is expensive to pay the importing company, which is asking for around 30% of the value of the vehicle invoice.

Based on other experiences such as those of cargo companies, he said it is “quite manageable.” According to Aparicio’s example, “6,000 dollars of taxes and about 10,000 dollars for logistics and documentation should be added to a $20,000 car.”

“It’s obvious that the embargo exists, but if we have flexibility from the Department of Commerce to do these deals with Cuba, I think it’s the way to do something different that may lie ahead in the near future,” he said.

Aparicio has spent years obtaining licenses from OFAC to do business in Cuba. According to the website of the company, founded in 2015, it offers consulting services, legal and economic advice, planning and monitoring of business trips, air tickets, hotels, internal transport, translation and development of business plans.

Last October, the U.S. Office of Industry and Security approved an exclusive license in favor of the Premier Automotive Export distributor, based in Columbia, Maryland, for the export of motorcycles and electric skateboards, news that was as celebrated as it was criticized by Cubans on and off the Island.

On this occasion, the initial reactions have been mostly mockery. At a time of fuel shortage, with vehicles lining up for days to try to refuel at gas stations, the acquisition of a car is not among the priorities of many Cubans. “But how are they going to work if there is no oil, gasoline or water there?” one user reproached. Others reacted with humor: “Let them get a Tesla because how are they going to find gas?”

There was also no shortage of several commentators who demanded food shipments rather than vehicles and those who distrust that, despite the restrictions, the Miami cars will not finally end up in the hands of the regime: “They are sent to the self-employed and then the State confiscates them and passes them into the hands of the Government.”

Translated by Regina Anavy for Translating Cuba

6 thoughts on “US Authorizes Vehicle Sales to Private Enterprises in Cuba

  • May 2, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Mr. Wiggins, conveniently forgets the offer made by President Obama of the US, on March 21, 2016. ,That included discussion upon the embargo, Guantanamo and an offer of a free cable connection to the full Internet.

    It was dismissed by Fidel Castro – remember him Mr. Wiggins – on March 28, 2016. That was followed by Bruno Rodriguez stating on March 29, 2016:

    “There will be no reciprocation.”

    Although I am no admirer of the history of the US in relationship to Cuba – read ‘Cuba Lifting The Veil’ – and although I am on record for fifteen years of opposition to the US embargo, but for different reasons from the norm, I think that Mr. Wiggins ought to reconsider his view and base it upon recorded fact.

  • May 2, 2023 at 8:32 am

    I trust that Mr. MacDuff realizes that the US has diplomatic and trade relations with Vietnam and China despite the differences in economic and political philosophy. Why make such an exception for Cuba? If openness worked in these countries, why not Cuba? Can you imagine what a difference that would make?

  • May 1, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    Mr. Wiggins wastes his time, as the PCC ensures that any indication of private enterprise is stifled and the regime itself has a well-proven inability to produce anything to sell, with only rum, cigars and a small volume of coffee – all three of which were successful prior to the revolution, to export. Oh! I omitted charcoal! – ashes are significant in Cuba.

    As for the pious hope that: “Cubans including political figures, might be more open to lessons from the “free world” ie capitalist countries, that is a pipe dream, as closed minds are an inherent part of Castro Marxism and capitalism is anathema – unlike Vietnam and China, both of which have adopted it with alacrity.

  • May 1, 2023 at 12:00 pm

    I will leave anti-Cuban government rants to others. If a country is having extreme economic difficulties, they need revenues to be able to buy things that they cannot produce themselves. Providing an exception that just takes more money out of Cuba is hardly helpful. The USA should recognize that open two way trade is a key element in peaceful relations. Cubans, including political figures, might be more open to lessons from the “free world” if there was no embargo or pressure to restrict other countries engaging in trade with Cuba or no terrorist designation. We may not be happy with many aspects of the current government, but ongoing efforts at regime change does not help – and builds resentment among the people. I would hope that the USA could use better judgement.

  • May 1, 2023 at 12:26 am

    Mr. Tokmajian could have added that the Communist regime may put you in jail and confiscate your business! He knows! Ask about his father.

  • April 30, 2023 at 9:17 am

    This company is dreaming in technicolor !! I have been doing business in cuba for 26 years selling heavy equipment, trucks and parts. Vehicles have a 100% tax on the value of the kelly blue book. Then add the importation company costs; shipping costs. To register the vehicle is a 6 month process. Now there is no fuel. Tires, batteries & parts are not available unless they are stolen from gov’t warehouses and the warehouses are now empty ! A year after the vehicle is registered the gov’t will find a excuse to confiscate the vehicle to give it to a member of the assembly, this is standard practice

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