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New US Economic Sanctions Against Burma Go Into Effect - 2003-08-29


New, tougher U.S. economic sanctions against Burma have gone into effect, despite that country's insistence they will have a disastrous impact.

These new sanctions are a reaction to the arrest of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi by the country's military government on May 30th. Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is still being held at a secret location.

The new measures, signed into law one month ago by President Bush, strengthen existing sanctions, including visa restrictions on Burma's military leaders. They also extend a 1997 ban on new investment by U.S. companies.

Burma's military government says the arrest of the Nobel Laureate is an internal matter and insists that the sanctions will only end up hurting the Burmese people.

An informal survey of Burmese business leaders by Reuters News Agency shows that U.S. sanctions already have prompted factory closures and cost thousands of jobs.

China and Thailand have opposed economic sanctions against the government in Rangoon. However, the European Union and Japan also imposed new sanctions on Burma following the arrest of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi.

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