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Trump Grants 30-Day Waiver for Companies Doing Business in Cuba

The Trump administration extended a waiver to legislation that would allow U.S. lawsuits over property confiscated during the 1959 Cuban revolution, providing a brief reprieve to companies that feared they might face punishment for doing business with that country’s government.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo enacted a 30-day suspension of Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton act, according to a statement Monday. The shorter time period was significant — Title III had been waived on a rolling six-month basis until January, when the State Department broke the status quo with a 45-day suspension. The new suspension goes into effect March 19.

The administration had signaled it might not be willing to keep extending the waiver and has been looking to tighten a trade embargo that began to loosen under President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump also wants to punish Cuba over its support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

The Trump administration did include an exception to the waiver — lawsuits may be brought against Cuban entities that are included on the State Department’s Cuba Restricted List. That list includes entities under the control of Cuba’s military, intelligence or security services that are already subject to U.S. sanctions.