Cuba authorizes the importation of packages and luggage "unaccompanied" that do not exceed 50 kilograms

Cuba authorizes the importation of packages and luggage "unaccompanied" that do not exceed 50 kilograms

Cubans will be able to import more than double the amount of food and medical supplies than they have been allowed up to now with the entry into force, this July 1, of an extension of the cargo limit on parcels and unaccompanied baggage. The arrangement is part of a resolution published this Thursday in the official Gazettevalid until December 31, 2023.

According to the regulations, it is authorized in an “exceptional and temporary” manner to send to the Island a maximum of 500 dollars, or its equivalent in a volume of 50 kilograms (kg), as “unaccompanied baggage” that contains food, products cleaning supplies, medicines and other sanitary supplies, demonstrating the non-commercial nature of the shipment. Previously, cargo was restricted to $200 (or 20 kg).

In addition, the exemption from the payment of customs tax will be maintained for the first 30 dollars (or 3 kg) of the shipment, while a 30% fee will be applied for the “excess”.

The shipment of packages from Miami, which arrive accompanied by emigrants visiting the Island, could also become cheaper with this provision.

The measure could begin to be noticed not only in the variety and quantity of merchandise sold in the informal market, much of it coming from luggage and unaccompanied shipments made by travelers. Also, in the offers of digital sites that sell for Cuban émigrés and that use this route as a supply.

The shipment of packages from Miami, which arrive accompanied by emigrants visiting the Island, could also become cheaper with this provision. Currently, the pound of products transported by these agencies averages between 1.70 and 2.50 dollars, as long as they are food and medicine.

Last week, the Customs He announced that he would extend for the fourth time the norm that allows travelers to bring food, cleaning supplies and medical supplies with them, without limit or tariffs. This measure was initially approved in July 2021 and, according to the resolution, successive extensions have been necessary because the limitations on the supply of essential products still persist, for which the Government blames the “intensification of the blocking” in the US and the low levels of recovery of the economy after the covid-19 pandemic.

It is common to see travelers arriving on the island leave airports loaded with various suitcases, most of them with basic products that are scarce in state stores or that are sold on the black market at exorbitant prices. In addition, Cubans residing abroad support their families by sending packages by sea or air, which usually have differentiated customs treatment.

Also, natural persons from the Island who import food, cleaning products, medicines or sanitary material will be exempt from paying the customs tax up to a limit of 200 dollars (20 kg), as long as they demonstrate that it is not for commercial purposes.

Another novelty in the resolution is that the import of medical devices, expendables and parapharmacies will be allowed

Another novelty in the resolution is that the importation of medical, expendable and parapharmacy devices will be allowed, such as disposable gowns, gloves, scalpel handles, oxygen administration masks, insulin injection devices, among other supplies from a list that exceeds the 100 products. Also included are everyday items such as sanitary pads or tampons, mouthwash, and adhesive strips or band aids.

At a press conference, Dagmara Cejas Bernet, director of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Public Health, called last week for “citizen responsibility”, since the arbitrary use of these devices and self-medication could represent a risk for people.

Meanwhile, Cubans arriving on the island may import in their accompanied luggage any properly packaged food, with the exception of those not allowed by phytosanitary regulations, such as fresh or frozen meat.

Although the measure is applied to merchandise for non-commercial purposes, in practice many of the imported products end up being sold on social networks in the informal market.

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