Northwest Horticultural Council
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security are the two primary agencies in charge of regulating trade with Cuba.
The United States re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba in 2014, which had been severed since 1961, and released new regulations in 2015 to facilitate additional travel and trade with Cuba. These regulations generally did not impact agricultural exports to Cuba, which are still governed by the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. Notable exceptions are:
- The U.S. government has changed its cash-in-advance policy to require payment prior to the transfer of the title to, and control of, an importer. Previously, payment was required prior to the shipment leaving port in the U.S.
- Travel to Cuba for certain purposes, including “exportation,” is now authorized under a general license.
- A general license will now authorize foreign vessels to enter the U.S. after engaging in permissible trade with Cuba.
Effective November 9, 2017, the U.S. State Department published a List of Restricted Entities and Subentities Associated with Cuba that U.S. businesses are prohibited from engaging in certain direct financial transactions with because they are considered to support the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services. Exemptions apply for several categories of goods.
It is strongly recommended that exporters verify the full import requirements with their foreign customers before any goods are shipped. Final import approval of any product is subject to the importing country’s rules and regulations as interpreted by border officials at the time of product entry.
Please click on the above link for a list of chemical MRLs.
II. CHEMICALS AND ADDITIVE INFORMATION
A. Chemical residue standards:
Cuba maintains national regulations for imported food. Codex MRLs may be applied in the absence of a national MRL.
B. Monitoring chemical residues:
C. Restrictions on use of waxes:
III. ORGANIC FRUIT REGULATIONS
Specific information regarding the tariff rate on apples, pears, and cherries is not yet available. Duties for most favored nations average 10.7%. Duties for all other nations, including the U.S., in most cases, do not exceed 17%.
V. NON-TARIFF BARRIERS
A. Labeling requirements:
All food products are required to be labeled in Spanish. Multilingual labels are accepted as long as Spanish is one of the languages included on the label. The following information is required by Cuban law on all food product labels:
1. List of ingredients.
2. Nutrition facts – the standard U.S. nutrition panel is accepted.
3. Expiration date.
4. Country of origin. Must include “USA” in addition to city and state of export.
5. Net content must be expressed in metric units.
B. Licenses and quotas:
U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control regulates travel to Cuba. Travel to Cuba for certain purposes, including “exportation,” is now authorized under a general license. Click on the above link for further information.
U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) regulates the export of agricultural products to Cuba. For more information on BIS and its regulations, click on the BIS link above and then again on the Cuba link.
A validated license is still required for foreign policy purposes for the export and re-export of most commodities, with some exceptions outlined in the January 2015 regulations that are determined to improve living conditions and support independent activity, strengthen civil society, and improve communications in Cuba. More information can be found here.
C. Currency Issues:
U.S. dollars are accepted and commonly used for all types of transactions in Cuba. Effective January 16, 2015, U.S. citizens are permitted to use credit and debit cards in Cuba, including in authorized business transactions.
D. Pest and plant disease restrictions:
A phytosanitary certificate (PC) and import permit (IP) are required for all fresh fruit exported to Cuba. An IP must be presented before a PC can be written. USDA-APHIS requires that their state department of agriculture cooperators forward a copy of the IP to them for review prior to certifying.
Apples and pears from Washington state:
- The state and county of origin must be designated in the “Place of Origin” block of the federal phytosanitary certificate.
- Container numbers should be noted in the “Declared Means of Conveyance” block of the federal phytosanitary certificate.
- The APHIS seal number must be recorded with the container number.
- The container must be sealed at the shipping point. If the container arrives at the port of embarkation with a seal broken, without acceptable documentation the shipment may be rejected.
- The following additional declaration will be required: The fruit (specify name) in this shipment meet the import requirements of the Republic of Cuba and are free of the pests specified by the Republic of Cuba.”
- The pests of quarantine concern specified by the Republic of Cuba include: Hyphanatria cunea, Quadraspidiotus (Diaspidotus) perniciosus, Cydia pomonella, Cydia molesta, Brevipalpus lewisi, Frankliniella occidentalis, Bemisia tabaci biotype B., Ostrinia bilalis, Polillia japonica, Porthetria dispar, Rhagoletis pomonella and Maconellicoccus hirsutus.
- Accredited Certifying Officials will verify that the shipment complies with the import requirements of the Republic of Cuba.
- If the shipment must be transloaded into a different container before loading upon a ship, then a new Federal Phytosanitary Certificate must be issued to supersede or replace the original PC. The new PC must note the new APHIS seal number, as well as the new container number.
- It is recommended that the PPQ office at the final shipping point be provided with a copy of the PC and the estimated time of arrival of the shipment.
The import requirements that will be verified are:
The fruit was grown in an area free of Rhagoletis pomonella.
The shipment was produced and packed in an area outside the regulated areas for the following fruit flies: * Ceratitis capitata, Anastrepha ludens, Anastrepha serpentina, Anastrepha fraterculus and Bactrocera dorsalis.
This shipment was inspected and found to be substantially free of Panonychus ulmi.
Note: The Republic of Cuba will tolerate a low level of Panonychus ulmi adults and eggs.
The shipment shall be free from soil and foreign material.
The fruit shall be cleaned and packed in original new cases, with labels and markings on the outside that indicate content and origin. Packing material may not be of plant origin. Repacked products are not allowed.
The identity of the fruit must be maintained so that it will allow tracing of the shipment to the point of origin.
* Anastrepha fraterculus is not known to occur in the United States, Ceratitis capitata, Anastrepha ludens, Anastrepha serpentine and Bactrocera dorsalis are not known to occur in the State of Washington.
VI. OTHER RESOURCE LINKS:
VII. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
The U.S. Interests Section (USINT) represents American citizens and the U.S. Government in Cuba and operates under the legal protection of the Swiss government. U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba are encouraged to contact and register with the American Citizen Services Section.
Most of Cuba’s food needs are imported by the Cuban government-operated Empresa Cubana Importadora de Alimentos (Alimport) under the auspices of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Trade. Alimport is responsible for meeting domestic consumption needs. Cimex, Cuba’s largest government company, imports food products primarily for the retail stores. Hotel companies may utilize Cimex for their import needs as well.