April 2015
Position Papers

Legal Analysis: Removal of Cuba from Terrorism List Will Result in Modest Easing of Trade Sanctions

As part of the historic shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba announced on 17 December 2014, President Obama instructed the Secretary of State to launch a review of Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism (SSOT), and to prepare a report within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism. Administration sources have indicated that the State Department has completed its review and has recommended that Cuba be removed from the list of SSOTs. The president’s decision on whether to proceed with removal is expected to be announced soon. 

Authored by Stephen F. Propst, a partner at Hogan Lovells, this paper summarizes the legal restrictions resulting from the SSOT designation, the process for lifting the designation and the impact that removing the designation would have on trade with Cuba. Although the removal of Cuba from the SSOT list would be an important diplomatic step towards normalizing U.S. relations with Cuba, its immediate impact on economic activity between the United States and Cuba would be rather limited until further presidential and/or Congressional action is taken to fully lift the U.S. embargo of Cuba.


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