US to Allow Certain Imports from Cuba

Ceramics are one of the products that can now be exported to the US.
Ceramics are one of the products that can now be exported to the US.

HAVANA TIMES — The United States government approved Friday the import of certain goods and services produced by the Cuban private sector, reported dpa. Now the ball is in the court of the Cuban government to decide whether to allow private producers to engage in exports, to date the sole domain of State companies.

The US State Department published a list of “goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs that can be imported to the United States.”  See the list below.

The new authorization comes less than two months after the resumption of diplomatic relations announced by the two countries on December 17, following more than half a century of confrontation.

The Obama administration seeks to support the emerging private sector on the island, known as the self-employed. Those wishing to export to the US must provide proof that their products were produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

On January 16, the US Department of Commerce relaxed some aspects of the embargo against Cuba, among other things, making it easier for US citizens to travel to the island (although still prohibiting tourist trips); allowing travelers to bring back US $400 in goods, and taking off limits in the sending of remittances to support private businesses and NGOs.

With these measures, Washington aims to help the emerging Cuban private sector, but the authorization to export is for the moment only symbolic, since the government of Cuba does not allow the self-employed to export their products and imposes several restrictions on the sale to private companies.

Likewise, at this time, freight transport is only possible through Cuban state companies.

“We cannot predict what the Cuban government will allow, but we hope to make it possible for the emerging private sector to have new opportunities. This is another measure to support the capacity of the Cuban people to achieve greater control over their own lives and determine the future of their country,” said the State Department.


The State Department’s Section 515.582 List

Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs

February 13, 2015

Goods and Services Eligible for Importation

In accordance with the policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, to further engage and empower the Cuban people, Section 515.582 of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (31 CFR Part 515 – the CACR) authorizes the importation into the United States of certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs as determined by the State Department as set forth on the Section 515.582 List, below.


The goods whose import is authorized by Section 515.582 are goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs, as demonstrated by documentary evidence, that are imported into the United States directly from Cuba, except for goods specified in the following sections/chapters of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS):

  • Section I: Live Animals; Animal Products
    • All chapters
  • Section II: Vegetable Products
    • All chapters
  • Section III: Animal or Vegetable Fats and Oils and their Cleavage Products; Prepared Edible Fats; Animal or Vegetable Waxes
    • All chapters
  • Section IV: Prepared Foodstuffs; Beverages, Spirits, and Vinegar; Tobacco and Manufactured Tobacco Substitutes
    • All chapters
  • Section V: Mineral Products
    • All chapters
  • Section VI: Products of the Chemical or Allied Industries
    • Chapters 28-32; 35-36, 38
  • Section XI: Textile and Textile Articles
    • Chapters 51-52
  • Section XV: Base Metals and Articles of Base Metal
    • Chapters 72-81
  • Section XVI: Machinery and Mechanical Appliances; Electrical Equipment; Parts Thereof; Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and Sound Recorders and Reproducers, and Parts and Accessories of Such Articles
    • All chapters
  • Section XVII: Vehicles, Aircraft, Vessels, and Associated Transportation Equipment
    • All chapters
  • Section XIX: Arms and Ammunition; Parts and Accessories Thereof
    • All chapters

Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving goods produced by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to § 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government.

This list does not supersede or excuse compliance with any additional requirements in U.S. law or regulation, including the relevant duties as set forth on the HTS.

For travelers importing authorized goods into the United States pursuant to § 515.582 as accompanied baggage, the $400 monetary limit set forth in § 515.560(c)(3) does not apply to such goods, but goods may be subject to applicable duties, fees, and taxes.


The authorized services pursuant to 31 CFR 515.582 are services supplied by an independent Cuban entrepreneur in Cuba, as demonstrated by documentary evidence. Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction engaging in import transactions involving services supplied by an independent Cuban entrepreneur pursuant to § 515.582 are required to obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity that is not owned or controlled by the Cuban government. Supply of services must comply with other applicable state and federal laws.

Note 1: All payments in settlement of transactions authorized by § 515.582 should reference this section in order to avoid having them rejected.

Note 2: The authorization in §515.582 of the CACR does not supersede or excuse compliance with U.S. laws or regulations or any other additional requirements.

Note 3: The Department of State, in consultation with other federal agencies, reserves the right to update this document periodically. Any subsequent updates will take effect when published on the webpage of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Sanctions Policy and Implementation ( Updates will also be published in the Federal Register. For further information, please contact the State Department at 202-647-7489.

Note 4: For provisions relating to recordkeeping and reports, see 31 CFR§§ 501.601 and501.602 and 19 CFR Part 163

13 thoughts on “US to Allow Certain Imports from Cuba

  • China rules both the U.S.A. and Cuba :::
    The USA and Cuba are both
    indebted to Communist China to keep their economies functioning in a
    stable and peaceful like manner. The Chinese want to put manufacturing
    plants in Cuba due to location a very well educated youth and lack of
    debt at all levels. Cuba has no under funded pensions and has excellent
    health and dental care provided by the state .
    A key to manufacturing in Cuba is direct access to the U.S. market so the embargo
    must end. The new $ 1 billion Mariel container port hub / duty free
    zone along with the new $ 700 million Melia Marina Varadero with a
    resort complex are all part of the big picture. Cuba’s future in the new
    world economy will will shortly lead the western world in expansion.

    Those Cubans that have multi language skills will do a great deal
    better than those that only spreak Spanish. The skilled trades persons
    will also do very well in the new Cuban market economy.
    Cubans with
    entrepreneur skills and drivive will lead Cuba in both business and
    politics.The new Cuban business of politics is critical to the countries
    success in the current world economy. This is a fact that is not
    Gordon Robinson / [email protected]

  • WTF? Read Griffin’s comment. 11 million poor Cubans, with the purchasing power of Gary, Indiana will have negligible impact on the US economy. I would agree that a handful of rich Miami Cubans will get richer and the Castro military oligarchy will also do very well. I also have a couple of Cuban-American children. They will do just fine without getting involved in business in Cuba.

  • Cuba already is a “rich – poor” society with a rich Stalinist elite and a poor people.
    Castro enriched his cronies and made all other Cubans poor in the name of the revolution. More capitalism will spread a better life to more people. Communism in Cuba only succeeded in generalizing poverty and hardship for the people.
    As far as democracy goes: communism has led to democracy nowhere. All communist systems are dictatorships. All democracies have a (mixed) capitalist system.

  • Irrelevant: Cubans – with the notable exception of artists of original and new work – aren’t allowed to sell for export.
    As long as the Castro regime does not allow independents to export freely there is no market.

  • NAFTA, which created a free trade zone including Mexico, Canada & the USA (total population over 400 million) was a far greater deal than the modest opening of Cuba with it’s tiny market of 11 million poor consumers.

  • The rules described above state that US tourists who buy these handcrafts in Cuba will have to present documents, such as a copy of the vendor’s business license, to prove the items are from the private sector & not from a state run workshop.

    That raises several questions: how likely are Cuban craftsmen to have stacks of photocopies of their business license at hand to hand out with every purchase? Are Cuban craftsmen even aware of the requirement in US law? Would a digital photograph snapped by the tourist count as valid documentation?

  • Cuba can import goods from all over the world, including Europe. I have seen Nestles ice cream for sale in Cuba.

    Cuban products are exported to Europe as well. One can find Cuban cigars & rum for sale in the UK.

  • A return to private enterprise capitalism will result in a return to a rich-poor society which caused the revolution….and most revolutions….in the first place. .
    There is a myth out there promulgated by the capitalists that capitalism builds wealth and has no alternative. .
    Well, yes (FE) capitalism builds great wealth for a tiny segment at the top but also condemns half the world to lives of poverty .
    It is an immoral and ultimately destructive totalitarian form which cannot be supported by anyone who believes in democracy.

  • Cuba can export all over the world now. Hard to imagine this will have a measurable impact until private interprise is further along. Tourism seems like the short term economic boost out of the deal.

  • The way it works in the USA is simple, make the best product and your success ration increase greatly. Best of luck and if there’s any DNA stretched across the Florida straits with your Florida brethren you’re on the road to a great journey.

  • The Castro “government” will tax the hell out of these imports, exports and business licenses so they can get as much money as they can. Those who will pay the most for these imports to Cuba will actually live in the USA and other parts of the Cuban diaspora who will be the new sugar daddies of those in the island!

  • This is just the start of the largest economic epansion the Americas have ever experienced. Those that speak multiple languages will do extremely well.
    My two Cuban – Canadian children are in the right country at the correct time.
    Gordon Robinson Port Alberni B.C. Canada
    [email protected]

  • Is Cuba doing any commercial business with any European countries? An imports from England and Ireland?

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