Quarterly Business Magazine

Local Law Firms Help Investors Shun the Locals on U.S. Sanctions List

Posted :
Friday, June 27, 2014

Yangon – For American companies coming to invest and seek local partners in Myanmar, it is not easy to learn about the background information and the related businesses of the people placed on the U.S. government’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List, according to Eric Rose, Lead Director at the American law firm Herzfeld Rubin Meyer & Rose.

However, local law firms are getting better at tracing their backgrounds, he said.

Usually, it is hard to trace those people since records of their activities and businesses are widely dispersed and obscure. Moreover, due to Myanmar’s naming system, sometimes a lot of people end up sharing the same name with those on the list. The lack of family names only adds more confusion in tracing them.

Therefore, American companies such as General Electric (GE) that are currently doing businesses in Myanmar face a lot of unwanted constraints and their investments remain a far cry from other countries in the region, said Orit Frenkel, senior manager for international trade and investment at GE.

Even as Myanmar is trying to break free from its military-dominated past, the persons on the SDN list remain deeply involved in the country’s economy.

The US government requires that any American company intending to invest more than US$ 500,000 has to submit periodic reports containing the following information to the US Department of State: the company’s practices in human rights, labor rights, and environmental protection; corruption-related activities; relations with the Myanmar military and armed groups, etc.

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