Cuba - US embargo
A Cuban citizen walks past a mural of Julio Antonio Mella, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che GuevaraGetty

US-Cuban relations are set to improve further on Friday 16 January after the Departments of Commerce and Treasury announced American companies would be allowed to enter the shores of its neighbour.

Telecommunications, construction and financial services will be able to conduct business in Cuba for the first time in decades since relations between the two nations reached boiling point at the height of the Cold War.

The decision to lift the restrictions, which have been in place since 1961, comes a month after US president Barack Obama restored Washington's diplomatic ties with Havana.

Sanctions baring US citizens from travelling to Cuba will also be lifted provided they go for educational, religious or other approved reasons.

Ending the embargo, Obama said: "Isolation has not worked. It's time for a new approach."

Cuban leader Raul Castro - son of former leader Fidel - also agreed to reset relations.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was asked to review Cuba's status as a state sponsor of terrorism in the wake of historic deal, which came after the release of American contractor Alan Gross, who was jailed for five years in Cuba, as part of a prisoner exchange deal.