The U.S. private sector is committed to supporting the growth and development of Myanmar’s democracy and civil society. Since the country’s political transition in 2012, the US-ASEAN Business Council and its member companies have supported efforts to develop Myanmar’s institutional, legal, and policy frameworks to promote an inclusive and sustainable economy. However, the February 1 military coup threatens to reverse the political and economic progress made, as well as the country’s future trajectory.
Bold, decisive U.S. leadership can make a real difference in the face of this crisis. As the United States recalibrates its Myanmar policy, the US-ASEAN Business Council urges President Biden to appoint a Special Envoy for Myanmar. A dedicated U.S. Special Envoy can coordinate a strategic approach involving smart, targeted sanctions and create room for effective dialogue in tandem with like-minded friends and allies, including members of the Quad and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Biden-Harris Administration must empower this Special Envoy with a support base in the region by also swiftly filling U.S. Ambassador posts to Singapore, Thailand, and ASEAN.
“The unfolding situation in Myanmar threatens economic collapse and imperils the lives of the people of Myanmar,” said Alexander Feldman, Chairman, President & CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “The U.S. Government must fully equip and deploy its diplomatic arsenal in ASEAN to confront this crisis, which includes filling key Ambassador posts in Southeast Asia and appointing a dedicated Special Envoy for Myanmar. American leadership is necessary in this critical moment to realize a viable path forward for Myanmar and ensure stability in the region.”
“The sooner the situation in Myanmar is seen and treated as an Indo-Pacific challenge on all fronts – political, security, humanitarian, and economic – the better off all parties concerned will be”, said Jack Myint, Country Manager for Myanmar of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “Beyond the scope of great power competition, what we’re really looking at is a failed state waiting to happen at the heart of one of the most dynamic regions of the world. The U.S. must do more and do better to tackle this head-on. There’s simply too much at stake.”