Question: Regarding U.S. sanctions against Burma, which sanctions are required by law and which are discretionary?
Answer: There are a multitude of sanctions against Burma pursuant to U.S. law and/or policy. Those under U.S. law often provide discretion to the Executive as to their application. For example, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and Section 570 of the Foreign Operations Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1997 impose sanctions against Burma but authorize the President to waive those sanctions in certain circumstances. The President has imposed other sanctions against Burma pursuant to his authorities under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Additional sanctions are triggered by Burma’s designation by the Executive Branch under various legislative authorities, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the International Religious Freedom Act, but many of these authorities also provide certain discretion to the Executive.