On October 7, 2016, the President of the United States, the
President signed an Executive Order (the "Executive
Order") terminating the national emergency with respect to
Burma and revoking Executive Orders and waiving statutory
directives imposing economic, financial and blocking sanctions
against Burma (Myanmar) (collectively, the "Burma
Sanctions"). This action marks the culmination of more than
four years of incremental relaxation of the Burma Sanctions during
a period a historic political change in Burma.
As originally promulgated in 1997, the Burma Sanctions generally
prohibited new investment in Burma, the importation of Burmese
goods, the exportation of financial services to Burma, and the
importation Burmese jadeite and rubies. In addition, under the
Burma Sanctions, the U.S. government blocked the property and
interests in property of certain Burmese individuals and entities,
making it unlawful to engage in dealings involving the property or
interests in property of such individuals or entities. In July
2012, the U.S. government began to relax certain elements of the
Burma Sanctions in recognition of recent political reforms, and to
encourage further political liberalization and economic
modernization, in the Southeast Asian nation. Burma's continued
democratic progress led, in November 2015, to national elections in
which the National League for Democracy, a former opposition party
led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won a majority of seats in parliament.
Following the elections, it was widely expected that the Burma
Sanctions would be further relaxed or suspended; in September 2016,
the President announced his intention to terminate the Burma
The Executive Order communicates the President's
determination that the situation that gave rise to the declaration
of a national emergency with respect to Burma, as initially
declared in May 1997 and later modified in scope in 2007 and 2012,
has been significantly altered and, therefore, that the associated
national emergency should be terminated. The Executive Order
identifies Burma's significant advances in democratization as
the primary source of this policy shift, noting specifically the
establishment of a democratically-elected, civilian-led government,
the release of political prisoners and the greater enjoyment of
human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As a result of the Executive Order, the Burma Sanctions, which
were administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's
Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"), are no longer
in effect. Termination of the Burma Sanctions carries the following
impacts, among others:
All entities and individuals blocked
pursuant to the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (the
"BSR"), which were issued by OFAC for administration of
the Burma Sanctions, have been removed from OFAC's Specially
Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (the "SDN
List"); " All property and interests in property blocked
pursuant to the BSR are now unblocked;
All OFAC-administered restrictions
under the Burma Sanctions relating to banking or financial
transactions with Burma are no longer in effect; and
The ban on importation into the
United States of Burmese-origin jadeite and rubies, and any jewelry
containing such items, is no longer in place.
Termination of the Burma Sanctions does not impact any Burmese
entities or individuals blocked pursuant to other OFAC-administered
sanctions programs, and such entities and individuals remain
designated on the SDN List, with their property and interests in
property still blocked. Additionally, OFAC has made clear that it
may continue or initiate any investigations or enforcement actions
relating to apparent violations of the Burma Sanctions that may
have occurred while the Burma Sanctions were in effect. This Client
Alert is only a summary and is not comprehensive as to the full
scope of the Burma Sanctions or changes directed pursuant to the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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