Statement by Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes on the Expiration of the Ban on Imports from Burma
Today, in light of the July 28 expiration of the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act’s (BFDA) ban on imports from Burma, the President issued an Executive Order that repeals the provisions of Executive Order 13310 that implemented the broad BFDA import ban on products of Burma.
President Obama fully supported the expiration of the broader ban on imports from Burma and is taking this step to advance our policy of promoting responsible economic engagement and encouraging reform that directly benefits the Burmese people. The removal of the broad ban on imports of articles other than jadeite and rubies, and articles of jewelry containing them, represents the next step in the Administration’s continued efforts to promote responsible trade and investment in support of Burma’s reform process. However, due to continuing concerns, including with respect to labor and human rights in specific sectors, this Executive Order reinstates the prohibitions and restrictions on the importation into the United States of jadeite and rubies mined or extracted from Burma, and on articles of jewelry containing them, that was originally imposed by the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, which amended the BFDA. The Administration is maintaining restrictions on specific activities and actors that contribute to human rights abuses or undermine Burma’s democratic reform process.
Today’s announcement continues to broaden American engagement in Burma, including increased opportunities for trade and investment, development assistance to strengthen the capacity of the government and people to promote growth and opportunity, and principled support for political reform and national reconciliation. Americans will continue to stand with the government and people of Burma as they continue their democratic transition, and work to realize the full promise of their extraordinary country.