US president Obama
US president Obama

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration said on Thursday that it will loosen trade, finance, and travel embargo against Cuba.

The U.S. Departments of Treasury and Commerce on Thursday announced regulatory amendments to sanctions on Cuba following the U.S. president's announcement of a set of diplomatic and economic changes to chart a new course in U.S. relations with Cuba in December 2014.

The new changes will facilitate travel to Cuba, allow U.S. financial institutions to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the transactions processing, change export policy and authorize the flow of certain goods and services to Cuba with a license, and allow a number of activities, such as telecommunications, financial services, and shipping.

The new rules will take effect from Jan. 16.

In December 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced a historically new policy towards Cuba, in a move to normalize relations and end more than five decades of estrangement between the two countries.

Obama said he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to initiate talks with Cuba on restoring diplomatic relations with the island country, which were severed in January 1961, and to review Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. He added that the U.S. would reestablish an embassy in Havana and high-ranking officials will visit Cuba.

At that time, Obama said that the U.S. was taking steps to increase travel, commerce and the flow of information to and from Cuba.

But many Republicans opposed the White House's decision and are not likely to vote to end the embargo.