Towards the end of the Obama Administration, the President not only relaxed travel restrictions to Cuba but also allowed for Cuban cigars to be brought back from Cuba and other countries where Cuban goods are legal. Despite these relaxed restrictions, it was still illegal to import and sell Cuban cigars in the United States. Many in the US cigar industry saw this as a slight as it created an uneven playing field for US retailers and manufacturers that cater to the US market because there was no opportunity for retailers to import cigars or use Cuban tobacco in cigars for the US market. It also seemed Cuban cigars would be allowed to skirt the new FDA deeming regulations.
Those relaxed rules are poised to change though, as President Trump seeks to take a harder stance on Cuba. Trump is expected to roll out a reversal of Obama’s Cuba rules in a speech on Friday in Miami, Florida. The reversal of the Obama-era rules would bar Cuban goods from entering the US and tighten travel once again.
While it is a seemingly unpopular move in Washington, it could be welcomed by those in the cigar industry as well as Cuban expats who had to flee the authoritarian Castro regime.