Congress reauthorises import ban on Myanmar for three years

US recently eased sanctions against Myanmar, starting with decision to allow US companies to invest there.


Reuters August 02, 2012

WASHINGTION: The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to extend a ban on imports from Myanmar for three years and renew the White House's authority to waive the restriction if the Southeast Asian nation continues to make political and economic reforms.

The Senate is expected shortly to approve the same measure and send it to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

Myanmar, began emerging last year from decades of isolation when its long-time military dictator, Than Shwe, stepped aside and a quasi-civilian government took over.

The new government, led by President Thein Sein, a former military general, has started overhauling the country's economy, easing media censorship, legalising trade unions and protests and freeing political prisoners.

The United States has responded by easing some sanctions, starting with a decision last month to allow US companies to invest in Myanmar and provide financial services there.

Other sanctions remain place, including the import ban first passed by the Congress in 2003.

"I want to acknowledge the positive developments in Burma over the last year. But much work remains ahead," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp said.

Myanmar needs to continue to make progress on political and economic reforms, release of political prisoners, human rights, freedom of speech, press, association and religion and treatment of ethnic groups "for full termination of the import sanctions and other restrictions in the 2003 law," Camp said.

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