Thursday, 31 July 2008

United States Imposes Sanctions on 10 Burmese Firms

(News Blaze) The United States is imposing further economic sanctions on Burma in an effort to punish the ruling military junta for systematically oppressing the Burmese people.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced financial sanctions against 10 companies suspected of being owned or controlled by the military-run government of Burma. At the same time, President Bush signed into law legislation and a joint resolution that will continue some sanctions, add new ones and extend import restrictions.

"We are tightening financial sanctions against Burma's repressive junta and the companies that finance it," said Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. "The regime's refusal to protect and allow relief to reach the Burmese people as Cyclone Nargis devastated their country is but another example of the regime's heartless neglect of its people."

The sanctions will affect two major conglomerates - the Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd. (UMEH) and the Myanmar Economic Corp. - that have extensive interests in a variety of sectors critical to the Burmese government, including the gem, banking and construction industries, Szubin said July 29. And four of UMEH's subsidiaries - Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Company Ltd., Myawaddy Trading Ltd. and Myawaddy Bank Ltd. - have been added to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list, the Treasury Department said.

In addition, Szubin said, any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belong to those named by Treasury officials must be frozen. No Americans or American companies may do business with these companies, the Treasury Department said.

"The designations also make available to the global community information about companies that provide vital support to the Burmese military and to a regime that is systematically oppressing the Burmese people," the Treasury Department said.

Bush signed into law the renewal of import restrictions on Burma and the 2008 Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act, which is aimed at extending sanctions against leaders of the Burmese military regime, those providing them with economic and political support, their immediate families and the Burmese gem industry.

Source: U.S. Department of State

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