Business, Economics and Jobs

Sell anything you want to Myanmar (except for guns)


Novice monks in Myanmar's Shan State.



Another week, another sign that sanctions against Myanmar (formerly Burma) are bound for the shredder.

The past seven days have seen a flurry of signals that Western nations are set to ditch sanctions against Myanmar, Asia's pariah on the mend.

Want to contribute to a non-profit in the largely destitute nation? Go for it, says the US Treasury, which scrapped aid-related sanctions this week according to Reuters.

How about doing business in Burma's set-to-boom economy? Sen. Jim Webb, an influential Myanmar-focused American politician, wants to seize this "moment in time" and "move forward on trade," the AP reports.

Canada's foreign affairs minister wants to "review everything in terms of our Burma policy," according to The Irrawaddy. Even more ambition is seen from the European Union, which is preparing to eliminate a "big chunk" of sanctions for at least a year, the BBC reports.

It now appears that most remaining Western sanctions against Myanmar -- originally designed to punish abusive ruling generals -- will not survive the year.

The last to go, I suspect, will be prohibitions on selling weapons in Myanmar, where politics are still dominated by current and former military men.

But Myanmar doesn't need to buy tanks, mortars or grenade launchers from the West. China is more than happy to supply them.