The Biden administration is warning businesses of the risks of doing business in Myanmar after the military coup there last February.
The U.S. departments of State, Commerce, Homeland Security, Labor and Treasury and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative issued an advisory on Wednesday warning businesses of illicit finance and money laundering risks that could occur in Burma.
The U.S. identified four primary industries the Burmese military is using as economic resources, including state-owned enterprises, gems and precious metals, real estate and construction projects and arms and materiel.
“The United States does not seek to curtail legitimate business and responsible investment in Burma. However, businesses and individuals should be wary of the associated illicit finance and money laundering risks, as well as reputational and legal risks, of conducting business and utilizing supply chains under military control in Burma,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.
“The military regime has undermined the rule of law, facilitated widespread corruption, and committed serious human rights abuses, which exacerbate risks to foreign businesses operating in Burma or providing financial services to Burmese businesses,” he added.
Myanmar’s military overthrew the democratically elected government last year after claiming the nation’s 2020 election was fraudulent. Since the takeover, more than 1,400 have been killed and thousands have been arrested and tortured.
Towards the end of December, the military killed 35 people, including women and children amid protests.
The U.S. has sanctioned dozens of officials and entities used by Myanmar’s military due to its human rights abuses.
“Businesses and individuals with potential exposure to, or involvement in, operations or supply chains tied to the military regime that do not conduct appropriate due diligence run the risk of engaging in conduct that may expose them to significant reputational, financial, and legal risks, including violations of U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions, as well as abetting human rights abuses,” Price stated.