The App & The 90-Day Race

The App

The United States Department of State is to issue a list of entities within the Republic of Cuba that are deemed to be affiliated with and/or controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba (FAR), specifically those under the auspice of the Enterprise Administration Group (GAESA) and Corporacion Cimex SA (Cimex).

With the FAR having an ever-expanding landscape throughout the economy of the Republic of Cuba and, specifically, both vertical and horizontal integration within the hospitality industry, there will be a challenge for individuals subject to United States jurisdiction to identify hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and service providers that would be prohibited from transactions.

Thus, the United States Department of State, and likely the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury through the use of the Specially Designated National (SDN) List, may consider creating an App which could be downloaded to a computer and wireless device and in real time, like GPS, provide a notification to the user if the establishment they are about to enter is on the prohibited list.

Such an App would then be updated in real time to add establishments and to remove establishments- as some may be transferred to other Republic of Cuba government-operated entities and may, perhaps, become registered independent businesses not subject to the list.

The 90-Day Race

The Trump Administration has now fired a starting pistol. The race is for United States-based companies to sign as many agreements as possible and have those agreements implemented, before the new regulations, expected within ninety (90) days, are promulgated.

Those agreements are expected to be permitted to continue; but, what if they require a license from the OFAC or from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the United States Department of Commerce? Will those license applications be given expedited review?

Another unknown is within the OFAC guidelines issued today reference is made to “lawful commercial activities” being permitted to continue. Will those activities authorized during the Obama Administration continued to be viewed as lawful?

The final unknown is the response from the government of the Republic of Cuba.  Will it work with United States-based companies during the next ninety days to advance, negotiate, agree and implement an expanded presence for United States-based companies?  Or, continue to use the interest of United States-based companies as bait to entice companies in other countries to engage the Republic of Cuba marketplace?

The most desired, but not necessarily the most likely, is for the government of the Republic of Cuba to create opportunities as soon as possible for United States-based companies to establish offices (including law firms), establish retail outlets, establish distribution centers, establish assembly operations, and establish manufacturing operations with entities affiliated with and/or controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba (FAR) and non-FAR entities.