Myanmar Gem Traders Warned of Blacklist for Joining Naypyitaw Emporium by CRPH

By The Irrawaddy 23 March 2021

The committee representing the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) elected lawmakers warned Myanmar’s gem and jewelry businesses not to participate in the gems emporium being organized by the military regime.

The Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), formed by NLD MPs, has received widespread domestic and foreign support.

U Tin Tun Naing, the CRPH’s appointed minister for planning, finance and industry, said in a statement that the civilian government would blacklist any company or trader who took part in the gem emporium as sales would bankroll the regime and its leaders.

The CRPH said it would take legal action against gems and jewelry businesses collaborating with the junta.

Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Haling said on Monday that his cabinet appointees will try to arrange for jade to be sold at the gems emporium in Naypyitaw.

The emporium is a major revenue earner for Myanmar’s government which taxes sales at the event at up to 40 percent. In previous years, it has been held in March and September. The government said it earned more than US$500 million (705 billion kyats) in revenue from each emporium. The emporiums were suspended last year due to COVID-19.

In late February, the global standard for transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining industries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), suspended Myanmar in response to the coup, citing political instability, including a lack of fundamental freedoms.

The EITI estimated that more than €820 million (1.4 trillion kyats) of gems were sold at the emporiums in the 2017-18 financial year. Another EITI report in 2016 estimated that 60-80 percent of Myanmar’s gems are not declared and avoid taxation.

Last week the CRPH and human rights groups, including Justice for Myanmar, urged the largest foreign-owned oil and gas companies, Total from France, Petronas from Malaysia, PTT in Thailand and South Korean-based POSCO to suspend business ties with the regime, warning that profits reinforced human rights violations in the country.

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