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Myanmar: Big consumer companies may be violating US sanctions by sourcing tin from mine controlled by United Wa State Army, linked to narcotics trafficking

Author: Yimoun Lee and Joel Schectman, Reuters, Published on: 29 November 2016

“How a rebel Myanmar tin mine may up-end a global supply chain”, 28 Nov 2016

From a remote corner of northeastern Myanmar, an insurgent army sells tin ore to suppliers of some of the world's largest consumer companies.

More than 500 companies, including leading brands such as smartphone maker Apple, coffee giant Starbucks and luxury jeweler Tiffany & Co. , list among their suppliers Chinese-controlled firms that indirectly buy ore from the Man Maw mine near Myanmar's border with China, a Reuters examination of the supply chain found.

The mine is controlled by the United Wa State Army (UWSA), which the United States placed under sanctions for alleged narcotics trafficking in 2003…

This potentially puts companies, which also include industrial conglomerate General Electric, at risk of violating sanctions that forbid "direct or indirect" dealings with blacklisted groups, according to a former and a serving U.S. official and lawyers with expertise in sanctions enforcement…

Apple, Tiffany and GE, and other companies contacted by Reuters, said that to fulfill those regulations they looked to an audit program designed by the industry group Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI)…

Tin supply chain expert at monitoring group Global Witness, Sophia Pickles, said…

"Companies, not schemes, bear the primary responsibility for ensuring that supply chains are responsible,"…

Read the full post here

Related companies: Apple Foxconn (part of Hon Hai) General Electric Hon Hai Pegatron Starbucks Target Tiffany