The Obama Administration Lifts US Import Ban of Cuban Rum, Cigars
Travelers take note: You no longer have to find ways to smuggle Cuban rum and cigars back into the US.
via Joe Raedle/Getty Images // Bottles of Havana Club Rum will be available in Cuba to US consumers for personal consumption
In an effort to continue to improve US-Cuban relations, the Obama Administration announced a new round of executive actions designed to increase trade and travel with Cuba on Friday. This includes lifting the import restrictions of Cuban rum and cigars into the United States.
“The Treasury Department has worked to break down economic barriers in areas such as travel, trade and commerce, banking and telecommunications.” said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew in a statement on October 14th.
In their statement, the Office of Foreign Assets Control declared it will remove the monetary restrictions of rum and cigars. Previously, tourists were only permitted to bring 100 dollars worth of Cuban rum and cigars back with them to the States. As of October 17th, American tourists in Cuba will be allowed to import up to 100 cigars and 1 liter of rum under the current US import duties for foreign alcohol and tobacco.
However, this doesn’t mean your local bar will be stocking up on Havana Rum just yet. The lift of the import restrictions is currently in effect for personal consumption only and purchases can only be made on Cuban soil.
Online and commercial importation of Cuban rum and cigars has not yet been addressed. An act of Congress is needed to approve the commercial sale of Cuban rum and cigars on US soil. This means commercial establishments looking to cash in on the US demand for Cuban rum will have to wait a while longer to import Cuban goods.
“More commercial activity between the U.S. and Cuba benefits our people and our economies,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. It has not yet been determined when we will see the commercial importation of Cuban goods begin, but the Alcohol and Tobacco industries are standing at the ready.
So while you’re scheduling your next trip to Cuba, make sure your carry-on is ready to bring a piece of the island nation home with you.
For more information on the US removal of Cuban Import Limits check out the report at CNN.