Obama lifts restrictions on Cuban rum, cigars

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The Obama administration Friday issued what could be its final set of regulations designed to exchange business and trade between the United States and Cuba.

The new rules allow Cubans and Americans to engage in joint medical research and lifts monetary limits on the amount of Cuban products Americans can bring back in their luggage for personal use. Currently the limit is $400, which included a combined $100 of alcohol and tobacco products. Now U.S. travelers can bring back as many cigars and bottles of rum as they like – as long as they are for personal use and they pay the duties and taxes that would normally apply.

There will no longer be monetary limits on such products purchased in third countries that come into the United States as accompanied baggage.

In a move that is expected to facilitate trade between the two countries, the Office of Foreign Assets Control also will lift a restriction that prohibited foreign ships from entering a U.S. port to load or unload cargo for a period of 180 days after calling on a Cuban port.

The changes take effect Monday when the regulations are published in the Federal Register.

This is the sixth set of trade, travel and business rules issued by the Obama administration since a rapprochement between the United States and Cuba began on Dec. 17, 2014.

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