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US House Approves Burma Sanctions Bill - 2003-07-15


The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would punish Burma's military government for its latest crackdown on the country's democracy movement.

In a 418 to two vote, House members Tuesday passed the bill sponsored by California Representative Tom Lantos, a frequent and vocal critic of the government in Rangoon.

The legislation would strengthen previous sanctions against Burma, which include visa restrictions on its military leaders and a 1997 ban on new investment by U.S. companies.

The bill includes a strong condemnation of Burma's human rights record and voices support for the country's opposition democracy movement. It had more than 50 co-sponsors in both major U.S. political parties.

Last month, the U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously to ban imports from Burma. The House bill would limit the ban to three years. Once the two chambers decide on a final version, it will go to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

The United States imported an estimated 356 million dollars' worth of goods from Burma last year, mostly garments and footwear.

Burma's government recently appealed directly to President Bush, asking him to reject any import ban.

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