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Statement on Foreign Investment in Burma

By US Senator John McCain  •  June 14, 2012

“Daw Aung San Suu Kyi made a very important statement today that I call on the Administration and our European allies to heed. She urged foreign governments not to allow their companies to enter into new partnerships at this time with the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, or MOGE, the state-owned enterprise in Burma that controls all foreign investment in the country’s oil and gas industry. I share Daw Suu’s concerns that MOGE’s operations lack transparency, that it remains overly influenced by the Burmese military, and that the large amounts of foreign investment flowing into MOGE are not yet sufficiently accountable to the Burmese parliament and people.

“I support the Administration’s decision to suspend sanctions on U.S. investment in Burma, and I have made clear that I am not opposed in principle to U.S. investment in the country’s oil and gas industry. Like Aung San Suu Kyi and Secretary Clinton, I believe that foreign investment in Burma can benefit the Burmese people and help to strengthen political and economic reforms. But where conditions in Burma risk turning well-meaning foreign investment into an instrument for corrupt special interests to entrench and enrich themselves and set back the country’s development, as in the case of MOGE, we must prioritize our democratic principles and the democratic aspirations of the Burmese people.

“I hope that Aung San Suu Kyi and her fellow members of parliament in Burma can work legislatively to reform the country’s state-owned enterprises, especially MOGE, and to make their operations fully accountable to Burma’s elected leaders and fully consistent with international standards, such as the International Monetary Fund’s Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency. I urge the Administration to refrain from issuing waivers at this time for new U.S. investment in Burma’s oil and gas industry until Aung San Suu Kyi’s concerns with MOGE are sufficiently addressed. I also urge the Administration to push our European allies to do the same. This is an important case in which continued principled U.S. leadership is needed.

“If everyone who has Burma’s best interests at heart – in Burma, in Congress, in the Administration, and in the international community – can all work together, I am confident that the challenges posed by MOGE can be resolved quickly and in a way that serves the interests of Burma’s democracy and people and America’s companies and workers.”

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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Environmental and Economic Justice, Press Release

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