As a part of a series of steps designed to further open up trade between the United States and Cuba, the Obama Administration further trade easements between the two countries will be going into effect. Included is the removal of the $100.00 limit on bringing back cigars and rum from Cuba as well as the removal of restrictions of purchasing Cuban cigars abroad. Details on this change to the policy were first reported by various news agencies including USA Today and the Miami Herald.
Back in December 2014, initial steps were made to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. As a part of that those initial steps, U.S. citizens visiting the island nation were allowed to bring back $400.00 of goods, for which $100.00 could be used for cigars and alcohol. Those steps marked the first time since the Cuban embargo was enacted in 1962 where U.S. citizens could bring back any amount of those types of goods. Now the restrictions are being further eased as the monetary limits have been removed.
Bringing cigars into the U.S. will still be subject to a duty fee once it hits a certain level. There is a duty-free limit of 100 cigars that can be included as a part of the $800.00 duty-free personal exemption. A returning resident is eligible for this exemption every 31 days.
The announcement strictly covers bringing back product for those Americans visiting countries that sell Cuban cigars. This means it only covers products purchased abroad. It is not a lifting of the Cuban embargo, nor has it opened up distribution of Cuban cigars in U.S. retailers. A lifting of the Cuban embargo takes an Act of Congress.
The eased restrictions will be put into place on Monday October 17th when they will be published in the Federal Register.
Update: Story has been corrected to indicate restrictions for buying products in third countries has been lifted as well. Also, added additional information on duty-free limits.