Posted on Sat, May. 12, 2007
Cuba's ban on car parts, video equipment lifted
BY WILFREDO CANCIO ISLA
Cuban citizens will soon be able to import a broad range of goods -- including VCR and DVD players and power generators -- for personal use under recent government decisions overturning longtime bans on such imports.
The government has not explained why it changed its mind. Until now, it tightly controlled such imports and sold them only rarely in its own stores at heavily marked up prices.
The new regulations will allow Cuban citizens to import the goods through travelers going to the island or direct shipments from abroad.
The list of products and accessories now allowed includes entire car bodies and engines, motorcycle parts, power-generating plants and ``accessories, parts and pieces of image-reproduction equipment.''
A May 1 decree by the Ministry of Finances and Prices allowed the noncommercial importation of video equipment of all types. Two resolutions approved in April by the General Customs agency, which will take effect June 1, allow the importation of the other goods.
There is one catch for those wishing to import car parts: The importers must submit an application underwritten by some organization; the vehicle being fixed must be officially registered; and each importer will be allowed one transaction every five years.
No such restrictions were placed on the importation of the video equipment.