TO improve ties between Myanmar and the USA the American Chamber of Commerce Myanmar, the National Foreign Trade Council, the US-ASEAN Business Council, the United States Chambers of Commerce and the United States Council of International Business called for the US government to ease sanctions on Myanmar last month.
Members of the US business community supported Obama’s engagement in Myanmar thus far, including the lifting of import bans, the easing of finance and investment bans, the opening of a USAID office and extending both the OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) and the Export-Import Bank support.
The letter also pointed to the positive election results in November—in which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won a vast majority of parliamentary seats.
Vice President U Nyan Tun asked the Obama administration to lift the US sanctions on Myanmar at the meeting of Southeast Asian leaders in California in mid February. U Nyan Tun said that although the US had given economic support to other ASEAN countries, Myanmar had received little developmental assistance because
of the sanctions.
American sanctions on Myanmar were initiated in 1997 when the country was under military rule. It was not until 2012 that the United States restored diplomatic ties with Myanmar, one year after current President U Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government came to power.
Since last year, the UMFCCI has been urging the US government to re-examine the sanctions list and remove some companies and individuals. This, the body argues, would create a level playing field in Myanmar for US companies with otherwise limited business power.
GNLM with Irrawaddy