President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton announced in May that the United States would ease certain financial and investment sanctions on Burma in response to the historic reforms that have taken place in that country over the past year. Today, the U.S. Government has implemented these changes to permit the first new U.S. investment in Burma in nearly 15 years, and to broadly authorize the exportation of financial services to Burma. The United States supports the Burmese Government’s ongoing reform efforts, and believes that the participation of U.S. businesses in the Burmese economy will set a model for responsible investment and business operations as well as encourage further change, promote economic development, and contribute to the welfare of the Burmese people. As these vital economic and political reform efforts move forward, the United States will continue to support and monitor Burma’s progress. We have and will continue to urge the Burmese Government to continue its reform process and we expect the Burmese Government to implement measures that increase socio-economic development and safeguard the human rights of all its people, including political rights and civil liberties.
The United States remains concerned about the protection of human rights, corruption, and the role of the military in the Burmese economy. Consequently, the policy we are announcing today is carefully calibrated and aimed at supporting democratic reform and reconciliation efforts while aiding in the development of an economic and business environment that provides benefits to all Burma’s people. A key element of this policy is that we are not authorizing new investment with the Burmese Ministry of Defense, state or non-state armed groups (which includes the military), or entities owned by the foregoing. Moreover, the core authorities underlying our sanctions remain in place. U.S. persons are still prohibited from dealing with blocked persons, including both listed Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) as well as any entities 50 percent or more owned by an SDN. The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) publishes a list of SDNs available at http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/SDN-List/Pages/default.aspx
Also today, the President issued a new Executive Order that will allow the U.S. Government to sanction individuals or entities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Burma, including those who undermine or obstruct the political reform process or the peace process with ethnic minorities, those who are responsible for or complicit in the commission of human rights abuses in Burma, and those who conduct certain arms trade with North Korea. Individual or entities engaging in such activities would be subject to Treasury action that would cut them off from the U.S. financial system. To read more click