Obama Restores Trade Benefits for Burma Amid Meeting Suu With Kyi

Obama Burma

The president of the United States Barack Obama announced Wednesday, while receiving Aung San Suu Kyi at the White House, that Burma would benefit from new tariff preferences which had been suspended when the military junta was in power.

In a letter to Congress, Obama announced that Burma, who made a spectacular transition to democracy after decades of isolation, would benefit from the new Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for least developed countries.

This country of Southeast Asia still remains subject to US sanctions, especially now that Washington had blacklisted more than 100 people accused of being linked to the former junta.

In a country where the military has substantial economic interests and political influence (a quarter of the seats in Parliament through non-elected members), Washington is seeking a delicate balance: to show that the democratization process is not completed while ensuring that sanctions do not prevent investments that improve the daily lives of Burmese.

Aung San Suu Kyi, a former opponent of the regime had become foreign minister of his country, and arrived at the White House in late morning for a meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.

The Lady of Rangoon, 71, also has the title of special state councilor which allows her to control the government despite the constitution inherited from the junta prohibiting her from being president.

Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), was brought to power by the legislative elections of November 2015, first free elections in decades, four years after the self-dissolution of the military junta in 2011.

You Might Want to Read