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US to Lift Sanctions on Myanmar to Open up Trade

The United States will soon make way for easier trade with Myanmar.

In a meeting with Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House Wednesday, President Obama said the U.S. is prepared to lift the sanctions imposed on Myanmar.

The U.S. had imposed sanctions on the country during its troubled military reign and slowly started lifting them in 2011 when Myanmar formed a civilian government. The country held its first nationwide election late last year after decades of military rule and Suu Kyi won by a landslide.

“In part becuase of the progress that we’ve seen over the last several months,” Obama said in the meeting, according to a White House statement, “The United States is now prepared to lift sanctions that we have imposed on Burma [Myanmar] for quite some time. It is the right thing to do in order to ensure that the people of Burma see rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government.”

To help facilitate trade between the U.S. and Myanmar, the president addressed plans to restore the Generalized System of Preferences to give the U.S. “greater incentive” to invest in a partnership with Myanmar.

Apart from its political transition, Obama also praised Suu Kyi for convening a peace conference to quell armed conflicts and fostering reconciliation of historical discrimination.

“There’s so much that has to be done in our country. And our party always said the most important thing was national reconciliation and peace,” Suu Kyi said. “We want to make sure that our people are better off materially in order to strengthen our political initiatives.”

Suu Kyi said the time is right to finally lift the sanctions and that Myanmar is ready to “open up to those who are interested in taking part in our economic enterprises.”

The country will be putting in place a new investment law “quite soon” to facilitate foreign entrants and has invited successful businesses to come and survey the nation’s opportunities.

When asked what the timetable was for lifting the sanctions, President Obama’s response was simply, “soon.”