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Cuba, US hold 3rd round of regulatory talks amid thaw

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HAVANA (AP) — Cuban and U.S. officials wrapped up two days of regulatory talks behind closed doors in Havana on Wednesday, the third round of such negotiations between the one-time Cold War foes amid a thaw in diplomatic ties.

A Cuban Foreign Ministry statement said the discussions centered on modifications to the U.S. economic embargo made by the Obama administration and limitations that remain, as well as Cuban regulations governing commercial and financial relations. No new agreements were announced.

A news release from the U.S. State Department said U.S. officials described changes that were announced in the spring related to Cuba-specific travel, commerce and financial transactions. The two nations' representatives studied ways they "can work together within existing U.S. laws and regulations," the statement added.

Ahead of his trip to Havana in March, President Barack Obama relaxed some financial curbs on Cuba, including further easing travel restrictions for Americans and moving to restore Cuba's access to the global financial system. Havana responded by saying it would lift a 10 percent conversion fee it levies on U.S. dollars once it was able to confirm that the measures would allow it to freely use the currency in its international transactions.

However Cuba has complained recently that it is still unable to use the dollar, and it has yet to end the conversion fee. President Raul Castro mentioned the issue last week in a speech to parliament.

Representatives of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Commerce and the U.S. State, Treasury and Commerce departments participated in the talks Tuesday and Wednesday. Josefina Vidal, Cuba's top diplomat for U.S. affairs, said via Twitter that the countries would meet Thursday to discuss migratory issues.

Havana and Washington announced in December 2014 that they would move toward normalizing relations after over 50 years of open hostility, and the two countries re-established embassies in their respective capitals last year.

 

 
 

 

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