US Congress wants to keep Myanmar import ban

Last Updated: Friday, August 3, 2012 - 08:48

Washington: The US Congress on Thursday voted to extend a ban on imports from Myanmar by one year despite recent easing of other sanctions against the country.

The Senate and House of Representatives voted separately to extend the ban on all imports from Myanmar, first imposed in 2003, Xinhua reported.

"By keeping the measure on the books even as we are open to new flexibilities, we will help send a strong signal to those in Burma (Myanmar)," Democrat Joe Crowley said.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party`s leader in the Senate, said the White House is authorised to waive Myanmar from the renewed ban on the ground of its reform efforts.

The legislation will land on President Barack Obama`s desk for his signature.

Obama ordered to lift some sanctions against Myanmar on July 11, allowing US companies to make investments there. He called the move "a strong signal" of US support for reform.

The US imposed sanctions on Myanmar in 1997 and expanded them over the years, which included investment ban and visa restrictions.

Myanmar President U Thein Sein`s government has implemented a series of political reform since taking office in March 2011.

The reforms saw the release of hundreds of political prisoners, signing of ceasefire agreements with ethnic groups and holding of Parliamentary by-elections in April this year.

Pro-democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi`s National League for Democracy (NLD) party had won a landslide victory in the elections.

IANS



First Published: Friday, August 3, 2012 - 08:48

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