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US eases imports of some privately-produced Cuban goods

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President Barack Obama's administration announced Friday it was allowing small private Cuban businesses to sell goods to US entities, in a move that could potentially loosen a half-century trade embargo.

[WASHINGTON] President Barack Obama's administration announced Friday it was allowing small private Cuban businesses to sell goods to US entities, in a move that could potentially loosen a half-century trade embargo.

Americans can now import anything produced by Cuban entrepreneurs, except for food and agricultural products, alcohol, tobacco products, minerals, chemicals, textiles, machinery, electrical equipment, vehicles, aircraft and other vessels, as well as arms and ammunition, according to a list produced by the State Department.

The agency said it reserves the right to update the list of authorized and banned goods periodically.

In order to export their products or services to the United States, Cuban entrepreneurs must obtain from local authorities evidence certifying they are a "private entity that is not owned or controlled in whole or in part by the Cuban government," the State Department said.

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The goods are subjects to tariffs, taxes and other fees for importation to the US.

The US government unveiled last month a set of amendments to regulations to facilitate travel and trade between Cuban and the United States.

According to these measures, US telecommunications and Internet companies can also invest in Cuba.

Online video website Netflix thus opened its service in Cuba on Monday, despite the still low number of Cubans with Internet connections at home.

Washington and Havana announced last month they were beginning the process of restoring diplomatic ties after 50 years of bitter disagreements and little to no communication.

AFP

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