US Sanctions on Myanmar Lifted At Last
Last Friday, 7 October 2016, President Barack Obama issued an executive order terminating the national emergency relating to Myanmar (the Burma related executive orders). This has the effect that:
- All individuals and entities listed on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List (SDN List) for Myanmar related reasons will be removed from the List;
- All Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) administered restrictions relating to banking and financial transaction s with Myanmar are removed; and
- The Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements will be removed (that is, US person will no longer need to report any agreement with the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise or any investment which exceeds US$5 million).
Concurrent Anti-Money Laundering Exception
On the same day, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an administrative exception which suspends the prohibition on US financial institutions providing correspondent services to Myanmar banks. This will make it easier for US financial institutions, including banks, to wire transfers to and from Myanmar banks, conduct business transactions and make and accept deposits from Myanmar banks.
The issuing of the administrative exception was in recognition of advances made by Myanmar in the regulation of AML, taking actions to address public corruption, taking action against international drug trafficking and cooperating with international law enforcement agencies in criminal matters.
Jade and Rubies
Finally, the ban on the importation into the United States of Myanmar originated jadeite and rubies has been revoked.
Together the measures will enable United States companies to more easily invest in Myanmar. However, of similar significance, the removal of the individuals and entities from the SDN List and the AML exception will mean that investment into Myanmar (particularly where the relevant currency is US$) will be easier for all companies (whether they are US persons or not).