3 June 2016
U.S. Takes Additional Measures to Promote Trade with Burma
The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced on 17 May regulatory and other amendments intended to support trade with Burma (Myanmar), facilitate the movement of goods within Burma, allow certain transactions related to U.S. individuals residing in Burma, and allow most transactions involving designated financial institutions.
OFAC has extended indefinitely General License 20 and incorporated it into the Burmese Sanctions Regulations. GL 20 authorises transactions that are ordinarily incident to exports to or from Burma that are otherwise prohibited involving an individual or company that is designated or otherwise blocked by OFAC’s sanctions. To further support trade-related transactions OFAC has expanded this authorisation by adding a general licence permitting certain transactions incident to the movement of goods within Burma; e.g., transporting goods from a warehouse in Burma for further distribution to retail outlets in Burma.
OFAC has also updated an existing general licence that authorises most transactions involving all currently designated financial institutions in Burma. Two of the financial institutions that were included in this licence have been delisted because engagement with them is no longer prohibited. Concurrently, OFAC has added to the general licence two other Burmese financial institutions that are currently designated, thereby authorising most transactions involving all Burmese financial institutions.
Further, OFAC has added a general licence that allows U.S. persons to conduct most transactions otherwise prohibited by the regulations that are ordinarily incident to U.S. individuals residing in Burma. This includes paying rent and other living expenses and buying goods and services for personal use. This complements the existing exemption for travel to or from Burma and will make it easier for U.S. persons to reside and work in Burma.
OFAC has removed from the list of specially designated nationals seven state-owned enterprises and three state-owned banks that are organised under civilian line ministries or no longer exist. This leaves few remaining OFAC restrictions related to banks in Burma, and the remaining sanctions on Burmese individuals and entities are primarily intended to target those who obstruct political reform, commit human rights abuses or propagate military trade with North Korea.
However, to incentivise further democratic reforms and maintain pressure on targeted individuals and entities and the military, certain sanctions remain in place. As such, OFAC has identified as blocked and added to the SDN List six companies that are owned 50 percent or more by two entities that remain on the SDN List. As a result, any property or interests in property of these companies that are or come within the United States, or that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons, should be frozen, and it is prohibited for U.S. persons to engage in transactions or to do business with these companies.