U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today signed a partial waiver of restrictions imposed on Burma under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. This waiver will enable the United States to support assessment missions and limited technical assistance by international financial institutions (IFIs), such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, in Burma. The President delegated this authority to the Secretary on February 3.
Secretary Clinton committed to supporting IFI assessments during her visit to the Burma in late 2011 in response to encouraging reforms underway in that country. The Burmese government’s positive steps include electoral measures to pave the way for Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy to participate in upcoming parliamentary by-elections, release of political prisoners, broader civil liberties, and preliminary ceasefire talks with certain ethnic minority groups. The government has also taken some steps to address deficiencies cited in the Department’s June 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.
Assessments by international financial institutions will provide critical means to gain a greater understanding of Burma’s economic situation, particularly its severe poverty alleviation needs and capacity gaps. The United States remains committed to supporting and partnering with the Burmese Government along the path of reform.