US-ASEAN Business Council Applauds U.S. Readiness to Lift Myanmar Sanctions

(Washington, DC) – The US-ASEAN Business Council strongly supports and welcomes President Obama’s announcement today of his intention to lift remaining sanctions on Myanmar following his meeting with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This action recognizes the remarkable progress that Myanmar has made in reforming its political, economic, and legal system, and will ease the ability for American business to trade with and invest in Myanmar and over time should lead to a substantial increase in US-Myanmar bilateral economic engagement. 
 
“U.S. companies have been interested in Myanmar since sanctions were eased in 2012, but have been constrained in engaging in Myanmar by the challenges of  conducting due diligence and compliance with regulations around Specially-Designated Nationals (SDN) list,” said Alexander Feldman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “This action would remove the single biggest obstacle to U.S. companies engaging in Myanmar and allow U.S. companies to compete on a level playing field with competitors from Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. This action would especially benefit American Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs), for whom the SDN List presented significant compliance and cost hurdles.  We now hope that SMEs can more fully participate in Myanmar, and that Myanmar will be better able to link up with the global supply chain.

"We also strongly applaud the President's action to make Myanmar eligible for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. This decision will remove duties on more than 5,000 product lines when Myanmar officially becomes a GSP beneficiaryNovember 13, and will help create jobs and growth in Myanmar.
 
“We believe that increased U.S. private sector participation in the Myanmar economy will substantially benefit the people of Myanmar, especially around the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs that are a part of American business culture.  These CSR programs give back to the people and communities where U.S. companies operate in areas such as community development, healthcare and education and have long-term impacts,“ Feldman continued. 
 
The US-ASEAN Business Council has been at the forefront of revitalizing the U.S.-Myanmar business relationship, and was proud to bring the first major business delegation to Myanmar two days after the initial suspension of U.S. sanctions in 2012.  Following this announcement, we are confident that Myanmar’s development efforts will be only further enhanced by the opportunity to attract quality American investment, which brings with it platforms for innovation, respect for labor rights and the environment, and world-class Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). We welcome the opportunity to support Myanmar’s continued democratic transition through responsible investment and job creation.
 

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For over 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.