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Obama Vows to Lift Myanmar Sanctions Thanks to Government Reforms

On Wednesday, while hosting Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in the Oval Office, President of the United States Barack Obama revealed that the US is primed to lift sanctions on the Southeast Asian country due to its recent positive democratic progress.

However, the president didn’t go into detail about which sanctions would be removed, instead stating that the change will happen “soon”, reports CNN.

"In part because of the progress we've seen over the last several months, I indicated after consulting with Daw Suu that the United States is now prepared to lift sanctions we've imposed upon Burma for quite some time," said Obama at the meeting, referring to the Burmese leader by her honorific. "It is the right thing to do in order to ensure the people of Burma see the rewards from a new way of doing business and a new government."

Obama also shared that the US will reapply preferential tariffs to Myanmar under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) scheme, which was halted more than two decades ago due to the then-ruling military junta’s human rights abuses, according to Myanmar Times.

Moreover, Myanmar will also be added to a roster of developing countries eligible for a special trade status which enables duty-free exports of about 5,000 products to the US market.

"We are very hopeful about the future," the president said, as Myanmar Times reports. "We are hopeful about building upon the friendship and relationship we have already established."

The US began the GSP program in 1974, allowing eligible countries to export products to the US duty-free. Currently the list features 122 countries and territories.

[Photo via ABS CBN News]

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