US warns enforcement to begin against sanctioned Myanmar banks

US warns enforcement to begin against sanctioned Myanmar banks

Biden administration to begin enforcing sanctions on Saturday when license expires, says State Department

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US announced Friday that businesses have until Aug. 5 to halt all transactions with a pair of Myanmar banks that were placed under American sanctions in June.

Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB) were blacklisted on June 21, and the State Department said they "have been instrumental in facilitating the regime’s use of foreign currency to procure arms and jet fuel abroad and to access international markets using offshore accounts."

Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement that the banks have been instrumental in helping the junta profit from Myanmar's oil, gas, teak, gemstone and other extractive industries.

A license was granted in June to allow businesses to continue transactions with MFTB and MICB as part of their "wind down" processes, but those permissions are slated to expire Saturday, when the Biden administration will begin to enforce the penalties.

After the authorities lapse, the US "will continue to carefully monitor compliance and scrutinize transactions with an MFTB or MICB nexus to counter evasion or other behavior that contravenes the intent of these designations and U.S. policy. We will pursue enforcement actions as appropriate," Miller warned.

"The United States will not waver in its support for the people of Burma (Myanmar) as they seek peace, justice, and an inclusive, democratic future for their country. We will continue to engage with our partners and allies in the broader international community to constrain the regime’s ability to exploit the international financial system," he said.

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