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European Union Lifts Myanmar Sanctions For One Year

The European Union has decided to suspend its sanctions against Burma for one year, retaining only its embargo on arms sales.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, who will travel to Burma this week, said the bloc aimed to support progress in Burma "so it becomes irreversible". The move is sure to please the government in Burma, and foreign businesses eager to operate there.

The decision will be reviewed in October, and is expected to lift sanctions targeting more than 800 companies in the logging, timber and mining sectors to allow investment in about 50 companies close to the government, and to end visa restrictions and travel bans affecting nearly 500 people.

It follows similar moves by the US and Australia, and was taken on the same day Burma's newly elected parliament convened, without any members of Aung San Suu Kyi's party. Her National League for Democracy (NLD) won 43 of 45 open seats in the 1 April byelection, a victory hailed as proof of the changing face of Burma.

Things are progressing pretty much as I expected. There is no hurry or panic to put money to work, and the US still not lifted most sanctions, and there are no vehicles to put money into yet anyway. However this is one of the last virgin Frontier markets so it bears watching.