US allows transactions with 4 Myanmar banks although they remain on sanctions list

WASHINGTON – The Treasury is allowing U.S. companies to do business through four Myanmar banks, although they are on a sanctions list and include institutions controlled by cronies of the former military junta.

The department issued a general license Friday, authorizing transactions with the banks, saying it would help promote responsible investment. It supports a July 2012 easing of U.S. investment sanctions to reward the government of President Thein Sein for democratic reforms.

The U.S. Campaign for Burma quickly criticized the move as premature and showing a “complete disregard” for human rights concerns in the country.

The measure is intended to encourage American businesses looking to tap into Myanmar’s emerging market.

The license covers the Asia Green Development Bank, Ayeyarwady Bank, Myanma Economic Bank and or Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank.