Cuba Eases Restrictions On New Cars Sales

As part of market overhauls, President Raul Castro last week said Cuban drivers can for the first time in years buy and sell cars made after 1959. There are still plenty of restrictions. People buying imports have to pay a tax, and car imports are still limited to foreign residents and Cubans with government permission.

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DAVID GREENE, Host:

OK, so you might describe Cuba as some kind of automotive time warp. The streets are filled with supped-up or broken down American cars from the 1950s or even earlier than that. They were all imported before the Communists took power. The Communist government then clamped down on imports and forbid ordinary Cubans from buying or selling any cars that came to Cuba after 1959.

Well, today's last word in business is easing up. As part of his market reforms, President Raul Castro last week said Cuban drivers can, for the first time in years, buy and sell newer cars. Now, there are still plenty of restrictions. People buying these later model cars have to pay a tax and car imports are still limited to foreign residents and Cubans who get government permission. But the streets of Havana might start looking a little less like an old movie.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

LYNN NEARY, Host:

And I'm Lynn Neary.

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