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Obama Lifts Burma Ban

The United States repealed its ban on imports from Burma, via an executive order issued by President Obama, August 7th. The move came as Burma is opening up its political system and making moves toward democracy, including freeing political prisoners and liberalizing investment rules.

The U.S. is also reviewing moves that could remove import duties on thousands of Burmese products, including apparel. The end of import restrictions already opens the country up as a potential exporter to the U.S.

The U.S. imported $275 million worth of clothing and goods from Burma in 2003, before the import ban was imposed. If Burma receives duty free status under the Generalized System of Preferences, that number would likely be much higher. Currently, imports have slowed to less than $100,000 a year.

Burma still struggles with infrastructure problems and a shortage of skilled labor. Electricity generation in the country is a major problem, as well as the condition of ports and roads.