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Commerce Department Implements President's Directive to Ease Restrictions on Humanitarian Aid, Gift Parcels to Cuba

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 3, 2009

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Commerce Department Implements President's Directive to Ease Restrictions on Humanitarian Aid, Gift Parcels to Cuba

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security today amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to implement the President’s April 13, 2009 directive to make it easier for Americans with family members in Cuba to visit and send gifts to their relatives. The measures are designed to improve prospects for democracy and enhance human rights on the island.

Today’s action was taken in concert with the publication of amendments to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations by the Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The measures will allow items normally exchanged between individuals as gifts to be included in gift parcels going to Cuba and remove the requirement that gift parcels be sent only to members of the donor’s immediate family. Gift parcels may now be sent from an individual in the United States to an individual or an independent religious, educational, or charitable organization in Cuba.

The amendment also raises the value limit for gift parcels from $400 to $800 and increases the number of parcels that an individual donor may send each month from one parcel per household to one parcel per donee.

The EAR update removes the 44-pound limit on personal baggage that previously applied to travelers to Cuba and creates a new License Exception that authorizes exports and re-exports to Cuba of donated personal communications devices such as mobile phone systems, computers and software, satellite receivers and digital cameras.

The amendment also revises licensing policy to facilitate exports needed to establish telecommunications links between the United States and Cuba, including links established through third countries, and including the provision of satellite radio or satellite television services to Cuba.