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US Govt. renews sanctions on Myanmar including ban on arms & gems trade; some restrictions loosened

In 1997, the US Government put in place restrictions on trade and investment by US entitites in Myanmar in view of large-scale repression of democratic opposition and threats to US foreign policy prevalent then. While these restrictions have been loosened especially since the introduction of reforms in 2012, a number of them continue to be in force. The latest renewal of sanctions was announced on 17 May 2016.

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17 May 2016

Treasury loosens sanctions on Burma

Author: The Hill

The Department of Treasury loosened several sanctions on Burma…to bolster trade and business between the country and United States persons and businesses.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed sanctions on seven businesses and financial institutions owned by the Burmese government and extended trade licenses for exports to and from Burma.

The OFAC also lifted a ban on most transactions with Burmese financial institutions and authorized some personal transactions, like paying rent and other living expenses, for U.S. persons living in Burma…

The OFAC also renewed sanctions on Burmese individuals and entities “who obstruct political reform in Burma, commit human rights abuses in Burma, or propagate military trade with North Korea,” it announced. It also sanctioned six companies majority-owned by Steven Law and Asia World, which supported Burma’s former millitary regime…

…“We remain concerned about some serious human rights issues, including ongoing attacks against ethnic minorities, as well as the military's extraordinary grip on key institutions of power,” the lawmakers said. “Renewing the sanctions authority while easing some sanctions sends a clear message that the United States continues to stand in support of true democratic reform in Burma.”



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17 May 2016

US extends sanctions, further targets Asia World

Author: Guy Dinmore, Steve Gilmore, and Ei Ei Toe Lwin (Myanmar Times)

The United States…announced it had extended sanctions against companies and individuals in Myanmar, adopting new measures targeted against Steven Law’s Asia World while removing some state-owned entities from its list.

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed seven state-owned enterprises and three state-owned banks from the “Specially designated nationals and blocked persons list” (SDN)…

OFAC responded to business pressure by adding a general license “authorizing transactions related to US individuals residing in Burma, extended and expanded an existing general license authorizing trade-related transactions, and updated an existing general license authorizing certain banking services.”

The seven delisted state-owned companies were named as: Myanmar Timber Enterprise; Myanmar Pearl Enterprise; Myanmar Gem Enterprise; No. 1 Mining Enterprise; No. 2 Mining Enterprise; No. 3 Mining Enterprise; and Co-Operative Export-Import Enterprise.

Three state-owned banks were also taken off the sanctions list: Myanma Economic Bank; Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank; and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank….

Six companies identified as owned 50 percent or more by Asia World or Steven Law were named as Asia Mega Link Co, Asia Mega Link Services Co, Pioneer Aerodrome Services Co, Green Asia Services Co, Global World Insurance Co, and Shwe Nar Wah Co…

US sanctions include a ban on arms sales and US imports of rubies and jade

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