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US eases sanctions on Myanmar

To support Myanmar’s move toward democracy and facilitate economic development the United States has eased some sanctions. The steps are intended to support trade, facilitate the movement of goods, allow certain incidental transactions related to certain individuals residing in Myanmar and to allow more transactions involving designated financial institutions in the country.

Trade and financial transactions were restricted between the two countries since military rule in 1988.

The measure would allow Myanmar’s banks on the blacklist to engage in financial transactions with US banks as well as connect Myanmar’s financial system with the global economy. These Myanmar banks would no longer face any restrictions.

Myanmar’s state-owned enterprises such as those involved in mining, timber and jade would be able to do business with their counterparts from the US. The lifting of the sanctions may result in more quality exports from Myanmar, especially gems and jewelry, and garments. The US may become Myanmar’s next export target.

Myanmar-US bilateral trade has steadily increased since sanctions were first formally eased in July 2012. Trade volume is also expected to increase, thanks to the potential increase in bilateral economic activities. Major US firms like General Electric, Western Union, Gap and Coca-Cola have made business forays into Myanmar.