On 21 June 2021, the UK and EU both announced further sanctions targeting individuals and entities linked to Myanmar’s military regime.
The EU announced that it was imposing sanctions against an additional 8 individuals, 3 economic entities (Myanmar Gems Enterprise; Myanmar Timber Enterprise (“MTE“); and Forest Products Joint Venture Corporation Limited) and the War Veterans Organisation. All designated persons are subject to asset freezes, with individuals subject to travel bans. EU persons are prohibited from making funds or economic resources available to the listed parties, or parties they own or control. There are now 43 individuals and 6 entities targeted under the EU regime which can be found here and here.
Similarly, the UK announced further sanctions targeting Myanmar’s State Administration Council (“SAC“) as well as MTE and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise. A consolidated list of financial sanctions targets can be found here. The UK also announced that it will maintain its suspension on trade promotion, and that it will strengthen its Overseas Business Risk guidance. This will reiterate that UK companies must undertake enhanced supply chain due diligence when conducting business in Myanmar, and should not enter into trading relationships that benefit the Myanmar military.
In the guidance, published on 21 June along with the new designations, the UK has drawn out issues that cut across the sanctions, the underlying situation in Myanmar and a number of compliance issues that are highly relevant for businesses such as:
- Drawing a link between human rights abuses and workforce concerns, in particular emphasising that suppliers and partners of UK business are respecting their employees’ individual rights.
- Drawing a link to anti-bribery and corruption risk, in particular noting that the adequate procedures defence to the failure to prevent bribery offence (under the UK Bribery Act) requires “strong, up-to-date and effective anti-bribery policies and systems in place to prevent bribery by persons associated with them”.
- Emphasising that “Businesses are ultimately responsible for conducting due diligence regarding their engagement and operations within Myanmar and should seek legal advice” but also noting that businesses are expected to follow best practice and that in some cases this means conducting enhanced supply chain due diligence to ensure that they are not supporting the military or its associated entities.