By David Brunnstrom and Jared Ferrie
WASHINGTON/YANGON (Reuters) – The United States removed a prominent business person from its Myanmar sanctions list on Thursday, in spite of doubts about reforms in the Southeast Asian nation.
Win Aung, the head of Myanmars chamber of commerce whose Dagon International construction firm won contracts to assist construct the countrys nine-year-old capital of Naypyitaw, was eliminated from the Specifically Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons list, the United States State Department stated in a statement.
The statement provided no information on why Win Aung was removed from the list.
John Viverito, a Singapore-based attorney who shepherded Win Aung’s petition through a 14-month delisting process, said United States authorities considered his support for democratic reform and his determination to divulge financial information.
He did present his books for testimonial, Viverito told Reuters. He was very open with them and I believe thats another essential element to his delisting.
Win Aung was blacklisted for his monetaryfinancial backing of the military government that was changed by a semi-civilian administration in 2011.
Viverito said that businessmen had no choice however to handle the junta throughout military guideline, and that the United States appeared to have actually listed lots of in spite of little proof of misdeed.
A great deal of that occurred from alcoholic drink celebration chit-chat, he said. We have not seen anything considerable on any of these business owners.
According to personal US diplomatic cable televisions published by Wikileaks, Win Aung presumably exported lumber to China from secured geographic areas after winning agreements due to the fact that of his military ties.
Myanmar released extensive financial and political reforms in 2011, convincing the United States and other Western countries to suspend most sanctions enforced throughout years of military rule.
Nevertheless, numerous in Myanmar now feel the reform procedure has stalled, with the armed force still holding extensive power.
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told Reuters last month that President Thein Sein was insincere about reform and implicated the United States and the West of being too positive about change.
Despite such doubts, the United States is likely to delist more business owners who are commonly knownreferred to as cronies in Myanmar, said Peter Kucik, of the Washington DC-based Inle Advisory Group, which encourages financiers about the country.
This is very substantial, but not unforeseen. Its the very first crony elimination, stated Kucik, a former US Treasury Department official. We do anticipate that this is the very first elimination and not the last.
The State Department stated the US sanctions architecture stayed in location, which any modifications would depend upon Myanmar continuing with political and financial reforms and resolving disagreements with members of ethnic groups.
(Extra reporting by Jason Szep in Washington; Editing by David Storey, Leslie Adler, Alan Crosby and Alex Richardson)