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US companies get the green light to pursue an exciting new market in Asia

For the first time in 15 years, US companies will be allowed to invest in Myanmar.

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A soldier stands guard in Myanmar. US companies planning to invest in Myanmar will have to watch out for sectarian violence, which has already killed dozens of people. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

American companies have finally got the green-light to invest in resource rich Myanmar.

President Barack Obama has authorized US companies to invest in Myanmar for the first time 15 years, according to a statement released by the White House.

The armed forces and Ministry of Defense-owned entities will not be covered by the general licenses and US companies will be asked to report on their activities in keeping with international standards.

But this is great news for companies like General Electric and Chevron that had been pushing to get a license to invest in the country.

The US and the West finally began the process of easing sanctions on Myanmar earlier this year, after the country began a process of reforms, and after Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party won the parliamentary by-elections.

Investment guru Jim Rogers has long said that Myanmar is the next investment destination.

Companies do however have reason to be cautious after sectarian violence between Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists is already threatening the young democracy.

US secretary of state Hilary Clinton is meeting with Myanmar's president Thein Sein tomorrow to introduce him to delegation of American companies.

Here is a copy of the entire release:

Today, the United States is easing restrictions to allow US companies to responsibly do business in Burma. President Thein Sein, Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma continue to make significant progress along the path to democracy, and the government has continued to make important economic and political reforms. Easing sanctions is a strong signal of our support for reform, and will provide immediate incentives for reformers and significant benefits to the people of Burma.

Burma’s political and economic reforms remain unfinished. The United States Government remains deeply concerned about the lack of transparency in Burma’s investment environment and the military’s role in the economy. As we indicated in May, the armed forces and Ministry of Defense-owned entities will not be covered by these General Licenses. In addition, US companies will be asked to report on their activities in line with international corporate governance standards. I have also signed a new Executive Order that expands the Secretary of the Treasury’s existing sanctions authorities to those who undermine the reform process, engage in human rights abuses, contribute to ethnic conflict, or participate in military trade with North Korea. This Order is a clear message to Burmese government and military officials:  those individuals who continue to engage in abusive, corrupt, or destabilizing behavior going forward will not reap the rewards of reform.  

Americans for decades have stood with the Burmese people in their struggle to realize the full promise of their extraordinary country. Responsible investment will help facilitate broad-based economic development, and help bring Burma out of isolation and in to the international community. My Administration will continue to support the Government of Burma in its efforts to work toward international standards for economic growth, responsible governance, and human rights. And in all that we do, we are committed to working with the people of Burma as they shape a future of greater freedom and prosperity future, and continue their national reconciliation and democratic transition.

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Original Source URL: 
http://www.businessinsider.com/us-allows-investments-in-myanmar-2012-7

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/myanmar/120712/myanmar-burma-us-investment