In response to substantial and significant reforms that have taken place in Burma over the past two years, the United States has eased a range of economic sanctions to support the Southeast Asian nation’s reform process and social and economic development.
Most recently, the U.S. Treasury Department moved to allow American companies, individuals, non-governmental organizations and other entities to open accounts with Burma’s four major banks. This will ease business and investment dealings between our two nations, and through expanded economic opportunity could help provide a better future for the Burmese people.
Our government imposed sanctions on Burma in response to the military crackdown there on political dissent in 1988, the regime’s refusal to honor overwhelming election victory by the democratic opposition party in 1990, and decades of violence against ethnic minority groups.
Now, in response to sustained political reform in Burma, the United States has shifted its sanction regime from a broad-based one to a more targeted approach. Last July, we eased restrictions on new investments in Burma and on the export of financial services there with exceptions to the Burmese military.
In October, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation allowing American representatives in international financial institutions to support aid to Burma in its ongoing reform. And in November, we eased the import ban on Burmese products except jade and rubies.
But while the United States has eased many restrictions, it retains its core sanctions authorities to guard against backsliding. In particular, Treasury maintains a list of individuals and companies in Burma designated under the criteria laid out in our sanction. U.S. persons may not conduct business with entities on the list.
The United States is committed to supporting positive political and economic reforms in Burma. We urge the government there to continue making progress by implementing measures that increase socio-economic development, promote government transparency and accountability, protect human rights, sever military ties with North Korea and advance ethnic reconciliation.