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European firms seize on Suu Kyi release to hunt profit in Burma

Author: Andrew Buncombe & Joseph Allchin, Independent [UK], Published on: 25 April 2011

...Swarovski was among two dozen European companies that recently visited Burma on a controversial business trip...[The Austrian] embassy said [it] was an "economic fact-finding trip" and involved no contact with Burmese government officials...EU sanctions do not constitute a blanket ban on trade with Burma...[but] they are designed to tightly restrict trade in certain areas, including arms, gems and timber..."European trade delegations may not break the letter of sanctions law but they certainly break the spirit of EU policy," said Mark Farmaner, of the Burma Campaign UK. "...the human rights situation is getting worse, not better. Any European companies going into Burma not only risk association with a government committing crimes against humanity, but also high profile boycott campaigns in their own countries."..[S]everal Western corporations are pressing to enter the market... Ms Suu Kyi...and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), argue [sanctions] should remain for now, believing ordinary people are not harmed by them...Thomas Polacek, Asia sales manager for Roxel RMG, said he believed Burma had become a "Chinese colony"..."If, as Europeans, we want to sit back and watch others do business, that is one way... but there is a big debate within Brussels about this," he said. [also refers to Austrian Economic Chamber of Commerce, Union of Myanmar Federation Chamber of Commerce, P&P Consulting, Pioneer Aerodrome Services (part of Asia World)]

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Related companies: Swarovski