Yesterday Australia joined the United States in partially relaxing its Burma sanctions. Unlike the US, Australia does not have an import ban against Myanmar, as it is part of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). However, it did impose sanctions on financial transactions and travel.
The relaxation reduces the number of individuals subject to financial and travel sanctions from 392 to 130. Those removed from sanctions were civilian government officials.
The Australian government also ended its policy of neither encouraging nor discouraging trade with Myanmar. This means that the Australian government will have a more active role in trade, such as in the AANZFTA Work Programme. Australia will maintain its arms embargo against the Myanmar regime.
The next big event in Burma sanctions will be the EU’s annual review of its own Burma sanctions to take place on April 23. With Britain now supporting at least a suspension of Burma sanctions, the only question is the depth and width of the relaxation.