Policies & Issues

US Treasury Department Sanctions 2 More Myanmar Companies

Policies & IssuesApr 08, 2021

US Treasury Department Sanctions 2 More Myanmar Companies

The holding companies are linked to the military and are involved in mining.

Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of the Treasury has sanctioned two additional companies in Myanmar as the country’s military continues its brutal crackdown on citizens demonstrating for democracy. 

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited, it said in a recent statement on its website.

OFAC is implementing sanctions on the companies because the Burmese military—which owns gemstone entities—“controls significant segments of the country’s economy through these holding firms,” dominating mining and natural resources, trading, consumer goods and more.

The designation comes in addition to sanctions previously placed on three colored gemstone companies: Myanmar Ruby Enterprise, Myanmar Imperial Jade Co. Ltd., and Cancri Gems & Jewellery Co. Ltd.

According to the White House, these three companies are “wholly owned subsidiaries of a conglomerate owned or controlled by the Burmese military.”

When National Jeweler covered the first set of sanctions, Sara Yood, senior counsel at the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, sent a statement that continues to apply to the situation in Myanmar.

She said: “JVC’s recommendation to businesses is to make inquiries into their colored gemstone supply chains to determine if they are directly or indirectly doing business with these entities, and if so, to immediately stop doing business with them.”

The sanctions come in response to the Feb. 1 coup in the country, in which the military junta seized power, ousting leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining other key government officials.

The move has led to widespread civilian protests many civilians to protest, resulting in bloody clashes between Myanmar’s people and the military.

According to the Associated Press, security forces have killed at least 581 protesters and bystanders through Tuesday in their crackdowns on protestors.

Additionally, a group representing the country’s ousted government officials has gathered evidence showing human rights abuses by the military, including executions, torture and illegal detentions, and will present it to UN investigators, The Guardian reported.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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