On October 7, 2016, President Obama issued an executive order finding that the situation that led to national emergency declared in Executive Order 13047, and which led to the imposition of sanctions on Burma, had terminated. As a result of this expected action, all of the Burma sanctions appear to have been removed effective immediately as of the date of that order. The order revoked the various previous orders that implemented the finding of a national emergency and imposed sanctions. Additionally, it waived the sanctions in section 5(b) of the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-286) (the “JADE Act”). Finally, the President set aside the visa ban and entry restrictions imposed on certain persons in Burma under Presidential Proclamation 8693

As I noted in an earlier post, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) had previously indicated that the Burmese Sanctions Regulations would no longer be in effect as of the date of the executive order terminating the national emergency with respect to Burma. Even so, the order has now been issued but the regulations are still sitting on the OFAC website as if they were in effect. There is another web page, however, which says that the Burmese Sanctions Regulations are now no longer in effect.

That same web page says that the restrictions on the import of jade and rubies from Burma has been lifted, but it’s not quite clear why (or if) that is the case. The Executive Order just released only waived the provisions of section 4(b) of the Jade Act but not those of section 6 which implements the import ban on jade and rubies. The President has the power to waive the ban in section 6 on import but only after forwarding certifications to the Ways and Means and Foreign Affairs Committees in the House and the Finance and Foreign Relations Committees in the Senate. There is nothing to indicate that this has been done yet, although it is reasonable to assume that this will happen at some point. So it would seem to me that until that certification is made to Congress and an executive order is issued waiving section 6, the import ban is legally still in effect.

At the same time as the executive order, OFAC removed from the SDN List all the individuals and entities that had been designated under the Burma Sanctions. This includes individuals, such as Steven Law, that were designated under the Burma sanctions as a result of narcotics related activities.

Probably the person who was happiest over being removed from the SDN List was Law’s father, Lo Hsing Han, although Mr. Lo may not be able to express his happiness to those of among the living, Mr. Lo having died in 2013. The removal of dead people from the SDN List long after they have rotted in their graves would, I suppose, be a humorous anecdote illustrating agency ineptitude were it not for the fact that live people with similar names continue to feel the ill effects of SDN List designations. The least that OFAC could decently do to prevent the collateral impact of SDN List designations on innocent people is to scrub corpses from that list in a timely fashion.

Copyright © 2016 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved. 
(No republication, syndication or use permitted without my consent.)