US Lifts Sanctions On 4 Burmese Banks

The Asia Green Development Bank headquarters on Prome Road in Rangoon. The bank is owned by former military junta’s business crony Tay Za.

The United States relaxed sanctions on four large banks in Burma on Friday, allowing them access to the US financial system as a reward for the country’s political reforms.

The Treasury Department issued a general license to the Myanma Economic Bank, Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank, Asia Green Development Bank and Ayeyarwady Bank.

A general license eases restrictions and lets the banks deal with US citizens and companies, but leaves sanctions laws on the books, giving Washington leverage should Burma start to backslide on reforms.

“Increased access to Burma’s banking system for our companies and non-governmental organizations will help to facilitate Burma’s continued social and economic development,” said David Cohen, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

The United States still uses the traditional two-syllable name for the Southeast Asian country.

The announcement on Friday follows a similar move last July, when the US Treasury issued general licenses allowing US companies to invest in and provide financial services to Burma, as long as they make detailed disclosures about their dealings.

The United States, the European Union and others have gradually loosened restrictions on Burma in the last two years after the country started to open up its political system and freed hundreds of political prisoners.

Burma’s leaders say sanctions have stifled their attempts to revive the economy and lift the resource-rich country out of poverty.

Sanctions have also been suspended or lifted by other developed countries, including Canada, Australia and Japan.

US Business Executives to Visit Burma

Fifty US business executives will visit Burma this week to explore trade and investment opportunities in the resource-rich nation now that the United States has eased sanctions, the US Chamber of Commerce said on Friday.

“This delegation trip is an important milestone,” Tami Overby, the chamber’s vice president for Asia said in a statement. “We have made tremendous progress in normalizing economic relations between our countries. It is now time to take the relationship to the next level.”

It will be the first major US business delegation to go to Burma since President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the country in November. It will include representatives of companies from agribusiness and the automotive, electronics, energy, retailing, telecommunications, and other sectors, the business group said.

The group will take part in a trade and investment symposium in Yangon that will bring together senior business executives and government officials from both countries.

The United States has softened sanctions on Burma and removed a ban on most imports from the Southeast Asian nation in response to the country’s democratic reforms.

Washington relaxed sanctions on four large banks in Burma on Friday, allowing them access to the US financial system.

The Treasury Department issued a general license to the Myanma Economic Bank, Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank, Asia Green Development Bank and Ayeyarwady Bank.

A general license eases restrictions and lets the banks deal with US citizens and companies, but leaves sanctions laws on the books, giving Washington leverage should Burma start to backslide on reforms.

Obama was the first American president to visit the country.


3 Responses to US Lifts Sanctions On 4 Burmese Banks

  1. Investers Beware!
    Ne win Nationalized Business 15 March 1962!
    Fifty Years!
    ” NOT COMPENSATED!”

  2. It is great to be the US nowadays.

    All rules and laws are elastic, come to money.

    Fact is, it never ends and it never leads to anything meaningful. Insatiable monster!

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