Congress Extends Burmese Sanctions – In July, Congress renewed sanctions against Burma’s military junta for one year. First put into place in 2003, the sanctions bar all US imports from Burma until its regime improves its record on human rights, moves toward a democratic government and complies with anti-drug treaties. Congress also enacted an additional law, the Block Burmese JADE Act, which specifically bars the importation to the United States of any gemstones extracted from Burma.

President Issues Executive Order Expanding Zimbabwe Sanctions – On July 25, 2008, President Bush issued an Executive Order expanding the scope of US sanctions to include senior officials of the Government of Zimbabwe and companies owned or controlled by, directly or indirectly, the Government of Zimbabwe or an official or officials of the Government of Zimbabwe. As a result of the Executive Order, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated several Zimbabwean parastatal and other entities owned or controlled by the Government of Zimbabwe.