“Much work remains to be done” by the Burmese government in reforming its human rights and its economy, so “easing sanctions will remain a step-by-step process,” said Assistant Secretary of State-East Asian Affairs Kurt Campbell in testimony April 25 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
“We have pursued a carefully calibrated posture, retaining as much flexibility as possible should reforms slow or reverse, while pressing the Burmese government for further progress in key areas,” Campbell said. He said there are “serious and continuing concerns with respect to human rights, democracy, and nonproliferation.” He also said the U.S. “will continue to monitor the democratization process carefully” and “Much more needs to be done on the legal and institutional front for the government to definitively break with its legacy of the past.”
On economic issues, Campbell said:
- “We plan to proceed in a careful manner” on easing bans on the export of U.S. financial services and investment.
- “We will also work closely with the U.S. Department of the Treasury to reexamine and refresh the Specially Designated Nationals list.”
- A primary distortion in Burma’s economy has been the use of multiple exchange rates. But, on April 2, Burma’s Central Bank aligned the official exchange rate close to the prevailing parallel rate, and is now posting the official daily rate on its website and allowing the exchange rate to move in line with market forces.
- “As businesses consider investing in Burma, it will be critically important to actively promote a strong corporate social responsibility ethic.”
- The U.S. will press the Burmese government to apply non-discrimination principles and to create a “level playing field” for foreign investors.