On January 26, 2016, the Obama administration announced changes to Cuba sanction regulations, further building on the past year’s historic beginning of normalization of relations between the two countries.
For the first time in more than 50 years, certain authorized goods will be able to be sold into Cuba under U.S. credit terms. The goods include agricultural inputs such as seeds, crop protection chemicals and fertilizer. The credit terms could include seller financing as well as U.S. bank financing. This exception does not include food and agricultural goods exempted from the U.S. trade embargo under the 2001 Trade Sanctions Reform Act (TSRA) due to specific provisions in the statute. This is a small but historic and symbolic change in the relationship between Cuba and the United States.
This change coupled with the September Obama administration announcement allowing U.S. companies for some purposes to develop a business presence in Cuba — to open offices and warehouses, hire employees, open bank accounts, etc. — indicates that now is the time for U.S. agribusiness companies to take a closer look at opportunities in Cuba.