U.S. takes first step to ending Cuba trade embargo

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 15, 2015 9:03 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States eased decades of trade and financial restrictions on Cuba, opening up the country to U.S. telecommunications, construction and financial services in a slew of changes announced by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury.

The new rules, effective on Friday, are the first concrete step to implement U.S. President Barack Obama's move last month to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba and ease the long economic embargo on America's Cold War enemy after more than 50 years.

The amendments, meant to open up commerce and support Cuban citizens, will also allow Americans to travel to the country without asking for permission first, as long as they go for educational, religious or other approved reasons.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Doina Chiacu)