Cuban Cigars Just Got Much Easier to Obtain

Obama lifts restrictions on the smokes as well as rum
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 14, 2016 10:44 AM CDT
Cuban Cigars Just Got Much Easier to Obtain
A file photo of a worker selecting cigars at a factory in Havana.   (Ramon Espinosa)

Good news for lovers of Cuban cigars and rum: The White House said Friday it's eliminating a $100 limit on the value of those items that American travelers can bring back from the island, reports AP. Cuban rum and cigars will now be subject to the same duties as alcohol and tobacco from other countries, meaning most travelers will be able to bring back as many as 100 cigars and several bottles of rum. Because high-end Cuban cigars can sell for more than $100 apiece outside Cuba, every US traveler can now legally bring back many thousands of dollars of Cuban products, potentially generating hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual revenue for the Cuban state.

"Challenges remain—and very real differences between our governments persist on issues of democracy and human rights—but I believe that engagement is the best way to address those differences and make progress on behalf of our interests and values," President Obama said in a statement. More than 160,000 American travelers visited Cuba last year, and that figure is expected to double this year. The previous limit restricted travelers to a combined value of $100 in rum and cigars, although enforcement of the limit notably declined after Obama declared detente with Cuba in December 2014. (Read more Cuba stories.)

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