Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor’s statement on the Presidential Policy Directive on Cuba

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Washington, October 14, 2016 | comments
Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) applauded the actions announced today by the Obama Administration to take another step forward in efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.
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Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) applauded the actions announced today by the Obama Administration to take another step forward in efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

“Today, President Obama announced concrete steps forward in America's evolving new relationship with Cuba that lifts people on both sides of the Florida straits,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.  “The new Presidential Policy Directive and regulatory changes announced today represent the continued progress for families and businesses.  While we will continue to have differences with Cuba, engagement is the best way to address human rights and democracy concerns while also increasing economic opportunities for Cubans and my neighbors right here in Tampa Bay.”

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) announced new amendments that could help spur scientific collaboration in health care and pharmaceuticals, increase people-to-people connections through travel, and remove bureaucratic barriers in shipping that are impeding new jobs and economic opportunities in Tampa and for the Cuban people.

“Locally, institutions like Port Tampa Bay, Moffitt Cancer Center and Lions Eye Institute could see benefits from these regulatory changes,” U.S. Rep. Castor continued.  “Tampa Bay has been a leader in forging ties with Cuba in areas such as health care collaboration, arts and cultural exchanges, and environmental and marine research.

“I am particularly pleased to see the changes address the so-called ‘180-day rule’, an onerous restriction on shipping between our two countries.  Port Tampa Bay is “Cuba-ready” and the elimination of this rule will allow vessels from third countries to enter a U.S. port for purposes of loading or unloading freight without having to wait 180 days after calling on a Cuban port.

“While I appreciate and applaud the actions of the Administration today, now it is time for Congress to act to end the travel ban and lift the outdated embargo. I will continue to press to do so in an effort to create jobs, economic opportunities and improve lives in Florida and in Cuba."

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