Fact Sheet: Section 515.582 List - Goods and Services Eligible for Importation

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
Washington, DC
February 20, 2015


In accordance with the Cuba policy changes announced by the President on December 17, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) made amendments to their respective Cuba sanctions regulations on January 16, 2015. As part of the amendments, OFAC’s regulations introduced a new provision authorizing the importation of certain goods and services produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs. This provision is set forth in OFAC’s Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) at 31 CFR § 515.582.

The goods and services authorized for importation pursuant to § 515.582 are set forth on the State Department’s Section 515.582 List, which can be found at //2009-2017.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi.

This new provision is just one of several in BIS’s and OFAC’s revised Cuba sanctions regulations that are designed to increase the flow of information and resources to Cuba’s nascent private sector. Under the amended regulations, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are authorized by general license to send remittances to individuals and independent non-governmental entities in Cuba to, among other things, support the development of private businesses, including small farms, and U.S. exporters may commercially sell certain goods for use by entrepreneurs. In addition, expanded general licensing for travel permits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage the Cuban private sector through activities like development projects and entrepreneurship training without the need to apply for a specific license from OFAC. As noted by the White House in its press release on January 15, 2015, regarding the regulatory changes, the Administration believes that allowing increased travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba will allow the United States to better advance our interests and improve the lives of ordinary Cubans.

Q: When may I begin importing goods and services authorized by Section 515.582?

A: Immediately. Pursuant to § 515.582 of the CACR, which went into effect on January 16, 2015, U.S. persons are authorized to engage in all transactions, including payments necessary to import those goods and services identified in the State Department’s Section 515.582 List. (//2009-2017.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi).

Q: Which goods and services are eligible for importation under this regulation?

A: The State Department’s Section 515.582 List references sections and chapters of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States to indicate categories of goods that are not eligible for import into the United States pursuant to § 515.582, even if such goods were produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs; any other goods produced by independent Cuban entrepreneurs and not covered by the listed sections and chapters of the HTS may be imported, as provided in the State Department’s Section 515.582 List and subject to compliance with all other relevant requirements under state and federal law and regulations. All services supplied by independent Cuban entrepreneurs are eligible for import, again, as provided in the State Department’s Section 515.582 List and subject to compliance with other requirements in state and federal law and regulations.

Q: Do Cuban entrepreneurs require a license from the Cuban government?

A: Persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction importing goods are required to obtain evidence that demonstrates the Cuban entrepreneur’s independent status, and, in the case of an entity, that the entity is private (i.e., not owned or controlled in whole or in part by the Cuban government). The Cuban government issues licenses to private individuals for self-employment or to operate small private businesses. Evidence that the entrepreneur holds this license, such as a copy of the license, is one way that a person subject to U.S. jurisdiction can show that the entrepreneur that provided the goods/services intended for importation holds independent status. However, third party verification by an independent organization may also suffice in the future. The State Department will work with other agencies to assess the situation on an on-going basis, and make adjustments to the State Department’s Section 515.582 List, published fact sheets, and/or other guidance, as the circumstances merit.

Q: Will authorized imports of goods undertaken pursuant to this regulation be subject to tariffs?

A: Yes, authorized goods are subject to applicable duties, taxes and fees. For travelers importing authorized goods into the United States pursuant to § 515.582 as accompanied baggage, the $400 monetary limit set forth in § 515.560(c)(3) of the CACR does not apply to such goods. If goods are for personal use, certain personal exemptions from U.S. Customs and Border Protection may apply.

Q: Will the Cuban government allow independent entrepreneurs to export to the United States?

A: We cannot predict what the Cuban government will or will not allow, but we sincerely hope that it makes this and other new opportunities available to Cuba’s nascent private sector. This is another measure intended to support the ability of the Cuban people to gain greater control over their own lives and determine their country’s future.

Q: What are some examples of independent Cuban entrepreneurs?

A: Cuba’s nascent private sector includes self-employed individuals, private small businesses, and private cooperatives that are independent of Cuba’s state sector. Those importing goods or services authorized by § 515.582 must obtain documentary evidence that demonstrates the entrepreneur’s independent status, such as a copy of a license to be self-employed issued by the Cuban government or, in the case of an entity, evidence that demonstrates that the entrepreneur is a private entity that is not owned or controlled in whole or in part by the Cuban government.

Q: How often will the State Department update this list?

A: The Department of State, in consultation with other federal agencies, will update this list periodically. Any subsequent updates will take effect when published on the webpage of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation (//2009-2017.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi). The list published today and any future updates will also be published to the Federal Register.

Q: Where can I find more information?

A: For further information on this list, please consult the webpage of the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs’ Office of Economic Sanctions Policy and Implementation (//2009-2017.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi), or contact the State Department at 202-647-7489. For regulatory questions, please consult the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Cuba sanctions webpage (http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/cuba.aspx).