Rum & cigars for all: US lifts restrictions on Cuban imports

© Desmond Boylan
Americans traveling to Cuba will be able to bring back plenty of rum and cigars, after the Obama administration abolished special import restrictions in a bid to make the opening of relations with the island nation permanent.

The US Department of Treasury announced Friday that Americans traveling to Cuba will no longer be restricted to just $100 worth of rum and cigars. They will now be subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries.

Reselling the rum and cigars in the US still remains against the law, however. The goods will be restricted to personal consumption.

“Challenges remain – and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights – but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values,” President Barack Obama said, announcing the changes.

Other provisions in Friday’s decision will make it easier for Americans and Cubans to jointly conduct medical research, and allow cargo ships to dock in US ports directly after visiting Cuba, which was previously prohibited.

More than 160,000 American travelers visited Cuba last year.