In response to steps taken by the Burmese government to broaden the political space and improve human rights conditions in the country, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has relaxed certain restrictions in the sanctions regime against that country.
The Treasury Department recently released a new general license authorizing the importation of certain goods of Burmese origin into the United States. Pursuant to General License No. 18, published by OFAC on November 16, 2012, the importation of Burmese origin goods into the United States is now generally authorized, subject to two critical limitations. First, the general license does not authorize importation of jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from Burma, including articles of jewelry that contain such precious stones. Second, the license does not authorize transactions with any individuals or entities that are included on the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, or other persons as determined by the State Department and Treasury Department. Furthermore, dealings with entities that are owned or controlled by individuals on the SDN list are also prohibited.
Although certain transactions with respect to imports from Burma are now authorized, certain activities continue to be prohibited, and if violated, may result in significant penalties. Notably, Burmese-related designations continue to be added to the SDN list. Businesses would be well served it is prudent to seek advice from trade counsel well-versed in the U.S. sanctions regime against Burma before doing business with that country.