Washington, DC - Since President Obama's historic December 2014 announcement that the United States would re-establish diplomatic relations and begin a process of normalizing relations with Cuba, we have taken important steps to promote engagement between U.S. and Cuban citizens by facilitating greater travel and commerce. By expanding people-to-people ties, business opportunities, and greater access to information, we are promoting the transformation of our relationship in ways that advance U.S. interests and improve the lives of the Cuban people.
The President has repeatedly underscored that our Cuba policy has changed, and supports increasing connections between the people of the United States and Cuba. The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security, in coordination with the Department of State, previously issued amended regulations to support the President's policy of empowering the Cuban people and creating conditions for more economic opportunities between Cubans and Americans. Today, these agencies have announced additional regulatory changes to build on that progress. These changes will remove financing restrictions for most types of authorized exports, amend regulations to increase support for the Cuban people and facilitate authorized exports, and further facilitate authorized travel. Just as the United States is doing its part to remove impediments that have been holding Cubans back, we urge the Cuban government to make it easier for its citizens to start businesses, engage in trade, and access information online.
Engagement and purposeful steps like those announced today will continue to empower the Cuban people and advance our enduring objectives of supporting human rights, improving the lives of the Cuban people, and promoting closer ties between our peoples.