There are calls from Myanmar Government Ministers for the remaining sanctions in the USA Patriot Act to be lifted. For example, problems arise when Myanmar Embassies attempt to transfer funds back to Myanmar from their Embassies overseas. Mr U Kyaw Tin, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs has highlighted these and other issues adding, “Currently, official remittance must go through an intermediary bank with a high and utterly wasteful cost. Removing Myanmar from the Patriot Act must be at the top of the agenda.”
You may have seen our blogs or elsewhere that most of the sanctions were lifted by President Obama, but sections 311 and 312 remain.
Mr U Kyaw Tin said, “To remove these barricades, Myanmar should liberalize financial policy, be more transparent and crackdown on illegal Hundi money transfers.”
(A Hundi is a financial instrument developed in India hundreds of years ago. They have been mentioned in our blogs before discussing trade and credit transactions. They are a form of remittance instrument to transfer money. There is still an estimated $5 billion sent annually to Myanmar).
Section 312 of the USA PATRIOT Act requires “certain U.S. financial institutions to apply due diligence to correspondent accounts maintained for certain foreign financial institutions”.
Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act “authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to require domestic financial institutions and domestic financial agencies to take certain special measures against foreign jurisdictions, foreign financial institutions, classes of international transactions, or types of accounts of primary money laundering concern”.
Mr. U Kyaw Tin is well placed to draw attention to these topics. He has served Myanmar in Europe and in the USA over many years. For example in September 2012 as the new Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations Mr. Tin Kyaw presented his credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Mr Kyaw was Myanmar’s Ambassador to Canada from March 2011. He was Chargé d’affaires at the Myanmar Embassy in Ottawa in 2005.
Today, Mr U Kyaw Tin is also The Deputy Minister for The Ministry of President’s Office.
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