Cuban shipping firms taken off US sanctions list earlier than expected

San Francisco: A number of Cuban shipping firms will be earlier-than-expected beneficiaries of the thaw in relations with the US as economic sanctions are being lifted sooner than predicted, AFP reported on Wednesday.

The sweeping delisting came as Washington and Havana progress in negotiations to restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of hostility.

Most of the companies removed from the U.S. Treasury sanctions list were based in Panama.

Also included were several ships registered elsewhere, and two firms in Florida. As regards those firms the US Treasury gave no details on why the companies had been on its sanctions list, but according to the Cuba-based news agency Prensa Latina, they are Cuban-controlled or have links to Cuba.

President Barack Obama is keen for the two countries to reopen embassies ahead of the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10-11.

But the communist island has insisted it first be removed from the US blacklist of state sponsors of terror.

The two sides remain at odds on several other thorny issues, such as compensation for American property nationalized after the Cuban Revolution and freedom of movement for diplomats.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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