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This is how the free importation of medicines and foodstuffs into Cuba will be implemented.

The Official Gazette of Cuba publishes the current policies of free importation of food and medicine into the country.

As we know, in 2021 a series of events and situations forced the Cuban authorities to make a drastic decision in favor of citizenship. Therefore, after recognizing the impossibility of satisfying the basic needs of Cubans, they chose to remove certain restrictions on the entry of certain products.

Therefore, on a “temporary” basis, Cuba allowed the free importation of food, medicine and hygiene products, thus favoring the Cubans. Since then, however, the measure, which was initially temporary, has been extended several times in the years since.

Towards the end of last March, the expiration of the measure was approaching and, once again, the authorities decided to extend its validity.

This is what emerges from the publication of Resolution 60 published in the Cuban Official Gazette, setting a new expiration date of June 30, 2024.

Consequently, the document proposes to “exceptionally and temporarily authorize until June 30, 2024, the non-commercial importation of foodstuffs, toiletries, medicines and medical supplies”.

Additionally, the United States notes that the limit of five hundred United States dollars ($500.00) in value, or its equivalent, for the application of the measure is maintained. Likewise, they establish a limit of up to fifty kilograms (50 kg), in the value/weight ratio established by the General Customs of the Republic.

Cuban customs will decide whether or not to apply the free importation of food and medicine

Likewise, the head of General Customs of the Republic, Nelson Enrique Cordovés, recently made a statement on the aforementioned document. Thus, in an interview given to official media, he reiterated the role of customs officers in the application of this measure. This is what emerges from the recent update of the policy of free importation of food, medicines and toiletries into Cuba.

According to him, the law establishes that the entry of these products is authorized as long as their use is not commercial.

In addition, he stressed that it is Cuban customs officials who will determine the use that will be made of the items and whether they will be confiscated or not.

During his speech, the official mentioned that apparently there are many people who seek to circumvent the established measures. He recalled some cases, such as that of a subject who was caught trying to import 57,000 Enalapril tablets, which, to them, was with obvious commercial intentions.

He also said other people had tried to smuggle thousands of cans of powdered soda into Cuba, abusing the free importation of medicine and food.

Therefore, it is customs officers stationed at border checkpoints who will make the decision whether or not to authorize imports. To this end, he stressed that this decision will irrevocably depend on the criteria of each officer.

Finally, he stressed that the work will consist of verifying compliance with the terms of Resolution 60, the sole purpose of which is to meet the needs of these products. In this regard, she affirms that if it is determined that they will be imported for commercial purposes, they will proceed with their confiscation, as provided for by law.

Cuba maintains free importation of food and medicine

Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz emphasizes that free importation benefits citizens by allowing them to access necessary products in the face of shortages in local markets.

This policy aims not only to alleviate unmet demand, but also to stabilize prices in the domestic market. Marrero highlights the Government's intention to maintain this measure until adequate supply is achieved in national stores.

Challenges and regulations

However, the implementation of this policy has not been without difficulties.

Abuses of this advantage have been noted, with cases of importation of commercial quantities under the pretext of personal use, which has led the General Customs of the Republic to adopt a more vigilant position.

The head of customs, Nelson Enrique Cordovés Reyes, speaks of the need for rigorous control to avoid resale at high prices, affecting the effectiveness of the measure.

Import conditions

Resolution 60 specifies that the importation of medicines, foodstuffs and hygiene products must be done as accompanied baggage. However, it is capped at $500 or 50 kilograms.

Additionally, duty-free parcel shipping up to 20 kilograms is permitted. In addition, there are certain tax reliefs

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