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US hopes easing limits on Cuba will boost reform in Havana: officials

[WASHINGTON] The United States hopes a new package of US regulatory changes affecting Cuba will encourage people-to-people interactions and provide additional incentives for Havana to make economic and trade reforms of its own, US officials said on Tuesday.

The regulatory reforms, which were introduced earlier on Tuesday, loosen travel restrictions on Cuba and ease limits on the use of US dollars in trade transactions there just days ahead of President Barack Obama's historic visit to the former Cold War enemy.

US officials told reporters the new rules would allow more Cubans to work legally in the United States without having to defect, but they declined to predict how that might affect Major League Baseball. "It certainly does address the ability of Cuban athletes who can earn salaries in the United States to do so," one official told reporters in a briefing.

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