U.S. eases import limits on Myanmar goods ahead of Obama visit
The United States on Friday eased decade-old import restrictions on Myanmar goods just days before President Barack Obama sets foot on the Southeast Asian nation.
The Departments of State and Treasury said the move was taken to support the ongoing reform efforts in the nation, encourage " further change" and offer new opportunities for businesses in both countries.
As a result, the United States will open up to most products from Myanmar under a waiver and general license with the exception of jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from the country as well as articles of jewelry containing them.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Sept. 26 that Washington would begin the process of easing the import ban put in place since 2003, in response to the advances made in the country's reform efforts over the past year.
She made the pledge in her meeting in New York with U Thein Sein, president of Myanmar who has initiated a series of reform since taking office in March 2011, including releasing hundreds of political prisoners, signing cease-fire agreements with several armed ethnic groups, and holding parliamentary by-elections in which Aung San Suu Kyi and her opposition party won a landslide victory.
Clinton traveled to Myanmar in December 2011, making her the first U.S. secretary of state to visit the country in 56 years.
Washington restored diplomatic relations with Myanmar and ended sanctions on investment there in July. And Obama himself will travel there on Monday, the first to do so by a sitting U.S. president.
In parallel with easing of the import ban, the Treasury added seven entities in Myanmar to its black list, which include front companies owned or controlled by Steven Law and Tay Za, two alleged cronies of the country's former government.