April 28, 2015

U.S. Sanctions Lifting in Myanmar Makes Slow Progress

By Peter Harrell

The U.S. plan to allow business to return to Myanmar is slowly taking shape. U.S. authorities took businesses off its long Myanmar blacklist this week for the first time since Washington moved to ease sanctions against the country.

The U.S. Department of Treasury removed Win Aung and the two companies he founded, Dagon International Ltd. and Dagon Timber Ltd., from the blacklist earlier this week. Win Aung’s businesses are the first to be removed since Washington moved to lift a near total ban on business with the country in 2012.  Win Aung “has taken steps to support reform in [Myanmar],” a Treasury spokeswoman said in an email earlier this week.

The U.S. Department of State has been telling blacklisted companies, once designated as cronies of Myanmar’s former military junta, that now may be the time to clear their names. “This is the first time the policy has really played out,” said Peter Harrell, a former deputy assistant secretary of state, who helped lead U.S. efforts to reach out to companies in Myanmar on the possibility of getting off the blacklist. “It’s significant because I think a lot of companies took the view that even though the [U.S.] government was saying they [would consider delisting] some thought they weren’t prepared to do so.”

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal

  • Peter Harrell

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy, Economics and Security Program

    Peter Harrell is an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, where he focuses on the intersection of economics and national security. Research interest...