Myanmar: The case against sanctions

| August 29, 2003

In June 2003, Senator Mitch McConnell proposed new legislation banning all imports from Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma). This strike against the country's ruling military junta will likely have little impact on the isolationist regime, reports Nelson Rand of Asia Times. While sanction supporters believe that trade restrictions will effectively damage the Burmese government, opponents argue that sanctions will only punish the nation's 350,000 impoverished textile workers. 'U.S. unilateral sanctions have a poor record with regard to advancing U.S. foreign-policy goals,' notes Harry Clark, an American lawyer and export-control law expert. Meanwhile, Steve Lamar, senior vice president of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, believes that sanctions are essential. 'Engagement is preferable, but it is clear that this is a regime that does not respond to the norms of engagement.' The proposed legislation would also expand Myanmar visa blacklists, freeze junta leaders' assets, and direct American representatives of international banks to oppose lending to Burma.
-- Erin Ferdinand

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