|A lineup of Cuban rums|
The agency that controls Pennsylvania's 600-plus state-owned wine and liquor stores is working to lift the United States' 55-year-old embargo on Cuban rum, one of the island nation's best-known products.
A purchase of Cuban rum by the sixth-most populous state would be, by all accounts, the biggest shipment of Cuban rum to the U.S. since John F. Kennedy was president, and could pave the way for the nation's private spirits wholesalers to follow suit.
... If Pennsylvania is successful, it would be the first import of a product produced entirely by the Communist state. ... In recent days, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board submitted the initial paperwork to begin the application process, an agency spokeswoman said, and now is working to provide additional documentation required by the federal government.
There's a reason for hope. The federal office that enforces the embargo has begun granting licenses to allow limited exchanges of goods and services under regulations written by the Obama administration that reflect his 2014 move to restore diplomatic relations between the two nations.
There also is reason for pessimism. Before he assumed the presidency ... Donald Trump criticized the detente between the U.S. and Cuba, tweeting that he might "terminate" it. New federal regulations on Cuba are expected, and Congress shows no eagerness to scrap the embargo.
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