States is expected to further ease sanctions against Myanmar
during this week's visit to the White House by leader Aung San
Suu Kyi in recognition of recent reforms in the once isolated
Reporting By Yimou Lee and Shwe Yee Saw Myint; Editing by
Nick Macfie, Asia, Sept 12
The United States is expected to further ease sanctions
against Myanmar during this week's visit to the White House by
leader Aung San Suu Kyi in recognition of recent reforms in the
once isolated country.
U.S. National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said last week
sanction relief would be a focal point of Suu Kyi's visit on
Wednesday and Thursday and the United States needed to make sure
that Myanmar's new government presented a "democratic dividend"
to its people.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy icon, helped
persuade the West to impose sanctions during her years as an
opposition leader under house arrest. She is now seeking to
strike a balance between showing her people the economic rewards
of a democratic transition while keeping pressure on the
generals for further reforms.
International investors are looking at whether Suu Kyi's trip
can help eliminate key obstacles to trade in Myanmar, which
would enhance U.S. companies' ability to operate there. Major
U.S. companies, including the General Electric, Western Union
Co, Gap Inc, and Coca-Cola have made business forays into the
Southeast Asian country.
Here is an overview of U.S. sanctions on the former Burma:
- The remaining U.S. sanctions on Myanmar are the tightest among
- More than 100 individuals and groups remain on Washington's
blacklist for Myanmar after President Barack Obama in May eased
some restrictions on key state-owned banks and timber and mining
- Many are on the blacklist due to ties to drug trafficking or
- U.S. sanctions imposed on Myanmar over the past two decades
can be terminated by Obama if he certifies to Congress that
Myanmar has met key conditions set out in the 2003 Burmese
Freedom and Democracy Act.
- Some investors expect Obama to recommend the reinstatement of
the Generalized System of Preferences, a tariff program to boost
economies in some of the world's poorest countries.
- Political watchers are paying close attention to Suu Kyi's
relationship with Congress members, who might not support
further sanction easing.
- Despite expectation of further easing on U.S. sanctions, an
arms embargo and trading restrictions on Myanmar's jade mining
sector are expected to remain in place.
Sources: U.S. Department of State, Herzfeld Rubin Meyer & Rose
Law Firm Ltd, Berwin Leighton Paisner (Myanmar) Ltd
(Reporting By Yimou Lee and Shwe Yee Saw Myint; Editing by Nick
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