US for­mally ends eco­nomic sanc­tions

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page -

On Oc­to­ber 7, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ter­mi­nat­ing the re­main­ing sanc­tions, scrub­bing the names of over 100 in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­tites from a black­list that had been in place for nearly two decades.

AFTER im­pos­ing eco­nomic sanc­tions on Myan­mar for nearly two decades, the US for­mally abol­ished the black­list on Oc­to­ber 7.

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ter­mi­nat­ing the sanc­tions, fol­low­ing his pledge to do so made when State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi vis­ited the White House on Septem­ber 14.

Lifting the re­main­ing sanc­tions is “a tes­ta­ment to the far-reach­ing changes that Burma has un­der­gone in the past few years, and are in­tended to sup­port ef­forts by the civil­ian gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple of Burma to con­tinue their process of po­lit­i­cal re­form and broad-based eco­nomic growth and pros­per­ity”, the US Trea­sury Depart­ment said in a state­ment.

The or­der also re­in­states pref­er­en­tial tar­iffs for Myan­mar that were sus­pended more than two decades ago due to hu­man rights abuses.

Mr Obama stated at the time of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit that re­vok­ing sanc­tions would be “the right thing to do to en­sure that the peo­ple of Burma see re­wards for a new way of do­ing busi­ness”.

Mr Obama had most re­cently re­newed the na­tional emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion un­der­pin­ning the sanc­tions – which de­fines Myan­mar an “ex­traor­di­nary threat to the na­tional se­cu­rity and for­eign pol­icy of the United States” – in May.

Over 100 in­di­vid­u­als and en­ti­ties have been scrubbed from the black­list, in­clud­ing Steven Law and Asia World, which the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion had adopted ad­di­tional mea­sures against in May. U Tay Za, U Zaw Zaw and Vice Pres­i­dent U Myint Swe were all on the now nonex­is­tent spe­cially des­ig­nated na­tion­als list.

Some re­stric­tions re­main in place, in­clud­ing an em­bargo on arms sales and sanc­tions against 21 in­di­vid­u­als and 10 com­pa­nies re­lated to nar­cotics king­pin reg­u­la­tions and two in­di­vid­u­als for deal­ings with North Korea.

US busi­nesses had lob­bied for an end to the sanc­tions, ar­gu­ing they dam­age wider US trade and in­vest­ment beyond tar­geted com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als. Hu­man rights groups slammed the de­ci­sion to fully wipe the black­list, ar­gu­ing that it would un­der­mine re­form ef­forts and re­move a cru­cial piece of lever­age of the Tat­madaw.

As the US ban on im­ports of jade and ru­bies is now also up with the ter­mi­na­tion or­der, trans­parency watch­dog Global Wit­ness has called for new safe­guards to be put in place on the no­to­ri­ous and abu­sive jade and gems in­dus­tries so that the sanc­tions re­moval does not fur­ther line the pock­ets of Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary elite.

– The Myan­mar Times

Photo: EPA

State Coun­sel­lor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama hold a joint press con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 14 at the White House in Wash­ing­ton DC to an­nounce the end of sanc­tions on Myan­mar.

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