Australia is starting to lift some of the sanctions that they had placed on Myanmar, as some politicians in Canberra have joined the growing troupe of political leaders that are looking for approaches to encourage more democracy in Myanmar.
The decision about Burma, comes just two weeks after general elections took place in Myanmar itself. A significant victory was experienced by the opposition party, led by Suu Kyi.
The US also lifted some of their restrictions just days after the elections. Sanctions made by the US are some of the most extensive and restrictive trade and investment bans, so it’s expected that alleviating the pressure on Myanmar will be a complicated process. The lifting of trade and investment bans must be accepted by the US Congress.
Australia’s Foreign Ministry has announced that travel restrictions and financial sanctions that were imposed on Myanmar’s civilian leaders are to be removed, however the sanctions will still remain in place for military figures. Australia is also maintaining its restriction on the purchase of weaponry.
Australia’s foreign minister, Bob Carr, said that it was important to reduce sanctions placed on Myanmar to show that Australia recognises and is encouraging the economic, social and political reforms that Myanmar is currently experiencing.
The removal of sanctions could create a myriad of opportunities for Australian businesses. Australia’s Trade Minister has announced that their former policy of not encouraging or discouraging trade and investment with Myanmar is to be discontinued and that they will begin to offer assistance and advice to companies about working there.