US formally ends economic sanctions
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
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.