A decree published Wednesday in Cuba's official gazette put an end to decades of restrictions on the buying and selling of motor vehicles by private citizens.

Plans to liberalize trade in vehicles were announced by President Raul Castro during April's 6th Congress of the ruling Communist Party.

"The donation and purchase/sale of motor vehicles on the part of Cubans or foreigners with permanent residency does not require the previous authorization of any authority," reads the decree signed by the president and Transport Minister Cesar Ignacio Arocha.

Transactions are to be conducted using notaries and the new regulation establishes "reference values" for vehicles based on size, type and model year.

The reference values will be used to determine the respective tax liabilities of buyer and seller.

While Cubans will still need government authorization to purchase a new vehicle from a dealership, they will no longer be required to donate their old vehicle to the government.

The right to buy a new vehicle from a dealer is limited to Cubans who have earned income in hard currency "as a result of their work in tasks assigned by the state or in its interests," the decree says.

Liberalization of trade in vehicles is part of a broad package of measures intended to "update" Cuba's socialist economic model and a similar deregulation of home sales is expected in the near future.