President Obama has extended US sanctions on Burma/Myanmar from 20 May 2015 for a year.  The sanctions prohibit US people and companies from investing in Burma/Myanmar or doing business with listed persons, and assets in US jurisdiction that belong to listed people are frozen.  It is also prohibited to import into the US any jadeite or rubies mined or extracted from Burma, including jewellery. The US Treasury’s overview of US sanctions on Burma/Myanmar is here.

US sanctions were first imposed on Burma/Myanmar in 1997 by Executive Order 13047 in response to repression of the country’s democratic opposition, and in 2012 a general ban on imports into the US of products from Burma/Myanmar was eased significantly in response to what then Secretary of State Clinton described as “substantial and significant reforms” (press release here).

In his letter to the US Congress, President Obama stated that although Burma/Myanmar has made “significant progress across a number of important areas” since US sanctions were first imposed, including “the release of over 1300 political prisoners, continued progress towards a nationwide cease-fire, and expanding political space for civil society”, the situation continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the US.

The letter cites concerns about the “ongoing conflict and human rights abuses in the country, particularly in ethnic minority areas and Rakhine State”, from where over 100,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since 2012, thousands of whom are believed to be stranded in the Andaman sea, and the fact that Burma/Myanmar’s military “operates with little oversight from the civilian government and often acts with impunity”.

The notice from the President extending the sanctions is here.

This entry was posted in Burma/Myanmar, USA by Maya Lester QC. Bookmark the permalink.

About Maya Lester QC

Maya Lester QC has a wide ranging practice in public law, European law, competition law, international law, human rights & civil liberties. She has a particular expertise in sanctions. As the most recent (2016) Chambers & Partners directory put it, she "owns the world of sanctions". She spent 2011-12 in New York at Columbia Law School lecturing and writing on sanctions. She represents and advises hundreds of companies and individuals before the European and English courts and has acted in most of the leading cases, including Kadi, Tay Za, Central Bank of Iran, NITC and IRISL.

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