President Donald Trump ordered new travel and trade restrictions with Cuba on Friday, but stopped short of rolling back all of the Obama administration’s efforts to open up relations with the country.

Key points:

  • Obama-era regulations allowing commercial flights to Cuba will not be changed, but Trump reinstated a requirement that “people-to-people” visits must be led by regulated tour groups. Individual tourist travel remains off limits.
  • Trump will also prohibit business transactions with Cuba’s Armed Forces Business Enterprises Group, a conglomerate tied to the Castro regime. However, exemptions will be made for air and sea travel, according to numerous media reports.
  • Trump will not cut diplomatic ties with Cuba, and the embassy in Havana will remain open. The administration is also leaving in place Obama’s move to end visa-free residency for Cubans.

BAL Analysis: President Trump signaled during his campaign that he would take a harder line on Cuba than Obama did. While he announced changes that will take some forms of travel and business transactions off the table, he did not reverse all Obama-era changes. The restrictions Trump did order will not take immediate effect, but will be implemented once the Department of the Treasury and Department of Commerce promulgate the relevant regulations.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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