US Govt. bans all Burmese gem imports, encourages Chevron to divest

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Article
29 July 2008

Bush signs Myanmar sanctions bill

Author: Jennifer Loven, Associated Press

President Bush signed legislation Tuesday to punish Myanmar's brutal ruling regime by freezing assets of political and military leaders there and banning the importation of rubies and jade from that country into the U.S...[which] already is the voluntary policy of retailers such as Tiffany's and Bulgari... It also gives Chevron incentives to divest its natural gas program in Myanmar... [The US] Treasury Department announced financial sanctions on 10 companies suspected of being owned or controlled by Myanmar's government...including two big conglomerates — the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and the Myanmar Economic Corp...

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Article
29 July 2008

US Treasury Targets Myanmar Companies In Crackdown On Junta

Author: Dow Jones

The Treasury Department on Tuesday targeted two conglomerates in a crackdown against Myanmar... The action by Treasury Tuesday targets the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. and the Myanmar Economic Corp... Four of UMEH's subsidiary companies - Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Company Ltd., Myawaddy Trading Ltd., and Myawaddy Bank Ltd. - have been added to [the Treasury Department's] Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list as a result of the action Tuesday. The action also targets the "No. 1 Mining Enterprise," "No. 2 Mining Enterprise," and "No. 3 Mining Enterprise" - all owned by the Myanmar Ministry of Mines. The Cooperative Import Export Enterprise, a trading company under the Myanmar Ministry of Cooperatives, was sanctioned, too...

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Article
29 July 2008

[PDF] [Statement by Leber Jeweler welcoming tighter Burmese gem ban]

Author: Leber Jeweler

This morning the President of the United States signed into law the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008. This legislation will tighten an existing ban and specifically bar the importation of Burmese rubies and jade...regardless of where the gemstones were cut and polished... This law will deprive the junta of much-needed funds they use to continue their reign of terror over the Burmese people… “The US jewelry trade must now cease selling Burmese gemstones known to benefit one of the world’s most despotic regimes,” said Brian Leber, president of Leber Jeweler…

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Article
1 July 2008

Burma’s Gem Trade and Human Rights Abuses

Author: Human Rights Watch

Burma produces a variety of gems but is most famous for its rubies and jade... In addition, Burma produces and exports a variety of other precious and semi-precious stones, including sapphires and spinel... [The] beauty of Burmese gems is marred by their association with serious human rights abuses... The [ruling party]...has a direct ownership interest in many of the country’s top gem businesses, including state-run firms such as the Myanmar Gems Enterprise and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise... In addition, a military-owned conglomerate, the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Company (UMEH), owns many businesses in Burma, including in the lucrative gem-mining sector... A few jewelry retailers, notably Tiffany & Co. and Leber Jeweler Inc, have long refused to purchase gems of Burmese origin. In reaction to the bloody crackdown in Burma, several European and US jewelry companies – including Bulgari and Cartier [part of Richemont] – also voluntarily pledged to boycott Burmese gems. [also refers to Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade]

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