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>> US sanctions on Myanmar may be on the brink of expiring, but don't expect that to be the last you'll see of them. Official sources telling Reuters that President Obama plans to renew most of the trade restrictions against Yangon on Tuesday. It's the first time the US has had to make a call on sanctions since the National League for Democracy headed by Aung San Suu Kyi took power.
Reuters Southeast Asia Bureau Chief John Chalmers explains Washington's strategy. Some might have expected that with the formation of a government under Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate, democracy champion, that sanctions would be removed altogether. But the United States wants to maintain some leverage on the country to make sure that there's no backsliding on reforms, and to continue to press for improvements on human rights.
So it's expect Thanks\g Mr.\g Keats\g thanks\g it\g is\g on\g. Quite an array of companies and individuals, particularly those connected to the military, which still wields considerable power in the country. It won't be all tough love from the US, though. Washington's expected to take certain names off a US treasure blacklist in a move designed to spur trade and investment.
Some American businesses have lobbied for all sanctions on Myanmar to be scrapped entirely. They say companies from other countries are freely moving in and doing business with one of the world's last remaining frontier markets while U.S. firms linger on the back foot. Washington officials tell Reuters that Suu Kyi actually supports extending some US sanctions to keep pressure on the military.
A subject she'll no doubt be discussing with US Secretary of State John Kerry this weekend on his first visit to Myanmar since her party took charge.