US suspends all trade engagement with Myanmar with immediate effect

Demonstrations against military coup in Myanmar
Demonstrations against military coup in Myanmar

The United States, on Monday, announced immediate suspension of all diplomatic trade engagement with Myanmar, under the 2013 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), until the return of a democratically elected government in the country. 

The US Trade Representative (USTR), Katherine Tai said in a statement that Myanmar security forces’ killing of peaceful protesters, students, workers and labour leaders and children “has shocked the conscience of the international community.”

“These actions are a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the efforts of the Burmese people to achieve a peaceful and prosperous future,” Tai added.  Also Read: Myanmar protests in pictures: Bloodiest day as military kills over 90 protestors, UN expresses horror

In addition to suspending work on 2013 framework agreement, Tai said USTR would consider Myanmar’s situation as it works with the U.S. Congress on reauthorizing the Generalized System of Preferences program, which reduces U.S. tariffs and provides other special trade access for some developing countries.

Participation requires countries to maintain certain worker rights protections, and Tai said reports that Myanmar’s military leaders have targeted trade unions and workers for their role in pro-democracy protests raise serious concerns.  Also Read: Myanmar protests in pictures: Citizens take to streets following bloody crackdown; World Bank slashes growth forecast

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