skip to main content

US threatens to impose sanctions on Myanmar

The US Biden administration has threatened sanctions on Myanmar after the country’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, seized power and detained rulers of the elected civilian government.

The potential embargo is expected to apply to economic sanctions, which the US government eased five years ago. The US government has maintained a military sales embargo on the Southeast Asian country since the late 1980s.

“The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy,” said President Joe Biden in a statement. “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action.”

The US revoked many economic sanctions on Myanmar in 2016 after the country swore in its first democratically elected government in more than 50 years. The move allowed the US to engage with non-defence sectors, although restrictions on trade and investment with Myanmar’s Tatmadaw remained in place.

The US introduced military sales sanctions on Myanmar in September 1988 in response to perceived human rights violations by the Tatmadaw. That embargo has remained in place since and was enhanced last year through the US Further Consolidated Appropriations Act 2020.

This legislation allowed the US to engage with the Tatmadaw only on issues related to improving human rights and disaster response. It also prohibited US funding to Myanmar through the US’ International Military Education and Training (IMET) and Foreign Military Financing (FMF) programmes.

The European Union has imposed military sanctions on Myanmar since the early 1990s. The sanctions cover military equipment and munitions and have subsequently been strengthened and expanded to include dual-use equipment that can be used for internal repression or terrorism. They also apply to military training co-operation.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...