In a move to deprive Myanmar’s ruling junta of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue, the United States Congress has approved legislation that seeks to block import of gems from Myanmar. The Bill, which was unanimously approved, has been sent to President George W Bush to be signed.
The Tom Lantos Block Burmese Jade Act, passed by the Senate on Tuesday and the House of Representatives last week, will keep the gems, including jade and rubies, from entering US markets via third-party nations.
Despite a long ban on all Myanmar imports, gems from the impoverished country have entered the United States via nations such as Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore, rights groups have said.
The Bill also makes the generals and their families ineligible for visas to the US and enhances existing financial sanctions against the regime.
They include new reporting requirements, which will provide greater transparency about the junta in terms of their financial holdings, information about countries that provide military aid to the regime and background on Myanmar’s timber trade, said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
The European Union and Canada have also banned the import of Myanmar gems.
Source: TODAY, 24 July, US Congress approves Bill to bar Myanmar gems