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Easing Import Ban On Burma

Laborers work at a garment factory in Burma. (file) The U.S. has allowed the general import ban on Burmese products to lapse.

The U.S. has taken another step in its continued efforts to promote and support Burma’s reform process.

The United States has taken another step in its continued efforts to promote and support Burma’s reform process by allowing the general import ban on Burmese products to lapse.

Easing Import Ban On Burma
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To complement the congressional action allowing the statutory ban on imports from Burma to expire on July 28, President Barack Obama subsequently issued an Executive Order that repeals the provisions of Executive Order 13310 that implemented the broad import ban on products of Burma.

“President Obama fully supported the expiration of the broader ban on imports from Burma, and is taking this step to advance our policy of promoting responsible economic engagement and encouraging reform that directly benefits the Burmese people,” said Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes in a written statement.

The United States continues to maintain restrictions on actors that engage in human rights abuses, undermine Burma’s democratic reform process, contribute to ethnic conflict, or participate in military trade with North Korea. The President also took action to reinstate the prohibition on the importation into the United States of jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from Burma, and on articles of jewelry containing them.

“The removal of the broad ban on imports of articles other than jadeite and rubies, and articles of jewelry containing them, represents the next step in the Administration’s continued efforts to promote responsible trade and investment in support of Burma’s reform process,” wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Rhodes.

The lifting of the broader ban reflects a positive response to the Burmese government’s implementation of a number of political and economic reforms, such as relaxing censorship and other restrictions on media; outlawing forced labor; taking steps to eliminate the use of child soldiers; and releasing nearly a thousand political prisoners, including human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, now a member of Parliament.

This is enormous progress in a country that was long known for its government’s iron-fisted control over nearly every aspect of society.

“Today’s announcement continues to broaden American engagement in Burma, including increased opportunities for trade and investment, development assistance to strengthen the capacity of the government and people to promote growth and opportunity, and principled support for political reform and national reconciliation,” wrote Deputy National Security Advisor Rhodes.

“Americans will continue to stand with the government and people of Burma as they continue their democratic transition, and work to realize the full promise of their extraordinary country.”