How to ensure compliance with Myanmar sanctions
Regional spotlight

How to ensure compliance with Myanmar sanctions

Why is Myanmar subject to sanctions? How can you ensure compliance? Get an overview, official government guidance, and tips for efficient trade compliance.

Basis for Myanmar sanctions: A brief history of events

Myanmar has continued to struggle with military dictatorship, poor governance, civil war, and widespread poverty since achieving independence from British rule. The country’s leadership by a civilian government was short-lived and 26 years under military rule followed. Myanmar's military junta's violent crackdowns sparked the emergence of armed revolutionary groups fighting for their rights.

Here is a brief look at a timeline showing developments in Myanmar that resulted in military rulership of the country and led to political instability, international pressure, and the launch of sanctions:

  • After its independence from Britain in 1948, Burma adopted a parliamentary democratic government after conducting a general election in 1960.
  • In 1962, General Ne Win took power from the government in a military coup which replaced the multi-party system that had been established following its independence.
  • In 1988, widespread corruption, economic policy shifts, and food scarcity led to massive protests. Many protestors lost their lives and many more were displaced because of the army's violent crackdown. In the same year, Ne Win quit as party chairman. A new junta took power.
  • In 2007, fuel price hikes sparked the Saffron Revolution – a series of economic and political protests. Under international pressure, the junta loosened control.
  • In 2011, the military junta was overthrown, and a transitional civilian parliament dominated by the military was constituted. Thein Sein, a former army administrator and prime minister, was named president.
  • In 2015, Myanmar conducted its nationwide multi-party elections. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of National League for Democracy (NLD) opposition party, won in a landslide victory.
  • In February 2021, General Min Aung Hlaing and other military commanders launched a coup and ousted the democratically elected civilian government headed by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and charged with corruption. Many other party members and activists were also detained, charged, imprisoned, or placed under house arrest.
  • After overthrowing the elected civilian government, Commander-in-chief of the Tatmadaw General Min Aung Hlaing and his junta took charge of the country. The civilian death toll since the coup took place continues to rise.

The following launch of sanctions against Myanmar

As a result of the military's harsh suppression of dissent and widespread human rights violations across the country, the United Nations (UN), foreign ministers, political leaders, and human rights activists have condemned Myanmar's military action. In addition, a number of sanctions were imposed on Myanmar by, for example, the EU, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. These include but are not limited to the following measures: 

Targeted financial sanctions

These refer to asset freezes and prohibitions to make funds and economic resources available to the sanctioned persons or entities in Myanmar. Some national legislations also ban the indirect provision of funds.

Travel bans

These apply to designated persons in Myanmar.

Trade sanctions

These include bans on the export, supply, sale, and delivery of critical, prohibited, or controlled goods (e.g. dual-use-goods) or services to listed Myanmar companies or governmental bodies.

Arms embargoes

These prohibit the export of weapons or military equipment to Myanmar as well as the export of dual-use goods to military end-users. The ban also applies when knowledge exists about intended military end-use of the exported items.

Investment prohibitions

This refers to, for example, bans on the provision of loans or credits as well as the establishment of or investment in Myanmar companies.

Considering the variety and complexity of imposed restrictive measures, foreign companies doing business with Myanmar must be aware of applicable sanctions regulations and official guidance to safeguard themselves against violations and to ensure compliance.

End-to-end trade compliance with AEB

AEB's export control solutions deliver comprehensive security for your business with always available and up-to-date software for Compliance Screening, License Management, Export Controls, and Risk Assessment. In the cloud and integrated in systems such as SAP®, Salesforce, or Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Myanmar sanctions measures and official guidelines

Restrictions on trade, financial provisions, and travel have been imposed by countries across the globe to enhance peace and security in Myanmar as well as to ensure compliance with international human rights legislation. Governmental guidance for Myanmar sanctions helps individuals and business organizations to adopt their own corporate policies and ensure compliance in their economic activities. 

Such official guidance addresses specific prohibitions, compliance requirements, and sanctions measures imposed by, for example, countries such as Australia, the UK, US, EU, and Canada. You can find official guidance on the implementation of certain provisions on Myanmar sanctions by these countries in the following links:

Best practices to ensure compliance with Myanmar sanctions

In a constantly shifting sanctions landscape, companies need to be vigilant about public financing, transparent transactions, compliant trading, and overall good governance. Ensuring compliance with global sanctions focuses on four core questions:

Who do you trade with?

Are your business partners listed on the sanctions list?

Which countries are involved?

Are the countries that are involved in your trade transactions subject to comprehensive, arms, or other trade embargoes?

What products do you ship?

Is the export, delivery, sale, or supply of these goods or services prohibited or subject to license requirements by the respective governmental authority?

What are your goods used for?

Are there any indicators or red flags that your goods will be used in or contribute to the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction or proliferation?

AEB’s Trade Compliance Management solutions support businesses in all these areas. Business partner screening – including checking for bans on indirect provisions – forms an integral part of compliant trading. Considering the number of sanctions lists on a global level and frequent changes, it’s a task that cannot be completed efficiently in a manual manner.

Compliance Screening from AEB simplifies and automates the tasks by checking for denied parties from offer to delivery in the background of your transactions. The software secures your trade without slowing down your operation. Compliance Screening helps you to reduce the number of false matches (i.e. names that bear similarities with those on sanctions lists) and genuine sanctions list matches trigger pre-defined processes and alert your compliance team to take action. The solution also offers options for extended screening including checking for sanctioned ownership, politically exposed persons, and adverse media.

And when it comes to trading critical goods subject to bans or licensing requirements, Export Controls and License Management tick all the boxes for you. Available in the cloud or integrated in your ERP, these solutions identify export control regulations that apply to your goods’ export control classifications and help you to efficiently meet license requirements worldwide. 

Last but not least, keeping all risks on screen and enabling your teams across all business units of your organization to report red flags, is equally important in today’s complex trade landscape. For this, AEB’s Risk Assessment offers the ideal platform – with easy access, full transparency, and revision-safe storing of records.