Obama lifts US sanctions on Myanmar

08 October 2016

President Barack Obama on Friday announced the lifting of US sanctions on Myanmar by terminating an emergency order that deemed the policies of the former military government a threat to US national security.

"I have determined that the situation that gave rise to the national emergency ... has been significantly altered by Burma's (Myanmar's) substantial advances to promote democracy, including historic elections in November 2015," Obama said in a letter to congressional leaders announcing the decision.

Obama's move marks the culmination of years of rapprochement between the US and Myanmar that Obama has worked to facilitate through a conciliatory approach, especially through interactions with its civil rights activist and now state counselor (something equivalent to prime minister) and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Southeast Asian nation, earlier known as Burma, considered by most modern states as a pariah state, has pursued political reforms over the last five years following decades of oppressive military rule in the wake of domestic and international pressure.

Obama had announced plans to lift the sanctions last month, when Suu Kyi visited the Oval Office. Suu Kyi was concerned that the sanctions had hurt Nyanmar's economy and urged Americans to come to the country and "to make profits.

The US has already eased broad economic sanctions on Myanmar, including prohibitions on investment and trade. But the US had retained more targeted restrictions on military-owned companies and officials and associates of the former ruling junta.

However, US business has been keeping aloof from involving in Myanmar's uncertain but untapped market.

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