US to ease sanctions on imports from Myanmar

New York: In a move that is expected to give significant economic boost to Myanmar, the US has said it will begin easing restrictions on imports of goods from the South east Asian country in recognition of efforts by its government to bring the country back on the road to democracy.

The announcement was made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her meeting with Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly yesterday.

It comes just a week after Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi embarked on a historic visit to the United States and urged lifting of sanctions on her country.

“In recognition of the continued progress toward reform and in response to requests from both the government and the opposition, the United States is taking the next step in normalizing our commercial relationship. We will begin the process of easing restrictions on imports of Burmese goods into the US,” Clinton said before her meeting with Sein here.

Clinton expressed hope that the move would provide more opportunities for the people of Myanmar to sell their goods into the US market.

“We have watched as you and your government have continued the steady process of reform, and we’ve been pleased to respond with specific steps that recognize the government?s efforts and encourage further reform,” she said.

It was Clinton’s third meeting with Sein, who was making his first visit to the US to attend the General Assembly.

Clinton had earlier met him her on her trip to Myanmar last December and at a meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations in Cambodia in July.

Following the implementation of political reforms by Myanmar, the US has been gradually lifting sanctions against the country which had been under the rule of military generals from 1962 till last year.