The State Department is currently weighing when and how to lift sanctions against Burma, also known as Myanmar, following a slew of political reforms — including democratic elections — this year. Some lawmakers have balked at the proposed sector-by-sector approach, calling it a "strategic mistake."
"We understand that as part of its review of sanctions policy, the administration is considering lifting sanctions sector by sector, with the possibility that sanctions may be retained on individual industries such as petroleum," Sens. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top Democratic and Republican senators on the East Asian affairs subpanel, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last month. "The United States should not be picking winners and losers in our economic engagement abroad, but rather should be encouraging the business community as a whole to take on the risk of investing in human development in Burma.”