U.S. steps up enforcement against illegal Cuba trade
The Bush administration said Tuesday it has formed a task force of federal agencies to crack down on individuals and companies that violate the country’s long-standing trade embargo with Cuba.
According to a news report by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the task force comprises officers from the FBI, Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Treasury Department. Finding import and export violations of the trade embargo will be part of the task force’s mission.
The newspaper further reported that individuals convicted of violating the embargo risk jail time of up to 10 years and fines reaching up to $250,000. Companies face criminal penalties of as much as $1 billion. Civil fines could reach $55,000 per violation.
Although regulated through federal export licenses, U.S. trade in agricultural products has steadily increased to Cuba since 2001. For more details about this trade, read the October American Shipper, pages 78-79.