US House renews Myanmar sanctions

The US House has voted to renew for one year a ban on imports from Myanmar.

Updated: Jul 15, 2010, 12:02 PM IST

Washington: The US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to renew for one year a ban on imports from Myanmar over alleged human rights abuses by its military rulers.

Lawmakers approved the bill yesterday, which has sailed through the US Congress annually since the restrictions first passed in 2003, by a voice vote.

The Senate was expected to act soon to send the measure to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

The "Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003" imposes a ban on Myanmar imports unless the US president certifies that the country has taken steps toward democratic reforms and to help fight international drug smuggling.

"It is long overdue that the world acknowledges the regime is guilty of many heinous crimes, and we must lead the effort to hold it accountable," said Representative Joseph Crowley, a longtime critic of Myanmar`s ruling junta.

The military regime in Myanmar, also known as Burma, plans to hold elections later this year despite disbanding the main opposition party led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest.

President Barack Obama`s administration has voiced concern about the elections but last year opened dialogue with the regime as part of its global policy of engagement with US adversaries.