U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton has reportedly said that the U.S. is prepared to move send a ‘full ambassador’ to Myanmar, and establish a US aid office in the country, according to Reuters.The U.S. will also begin the process of easing away sanctions that have so far banned exports of U.S. financial services and investment to Myanmar in response to its democratic transition.
This comes after Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory in parliamentary by-elections.
The easing of sanctions has massive implications for the U.S. since Myanmar is a country rich in resources from oil and gas to teak.
The country recently auctioned off 10 onshore oil and gas blocks that U.S. companies couldn’t partake in because of American sanctions on the country. Myanmar had 11.8 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves at the end of 2010 and has been tapped by energy hungry Asian giants like China and India.
Earlier this year we wrote that Myanmar’s economic isolation from the West was beginning to end. At the time Dr. Thein Swe, Senior Professor of Economics, Finance and Globalization at South East Asian Institute of Global Studies said Western countries had been sending their companies to look for investment opportunities in Myanmar in anticipation of an easing up of sanctions.
Myanmar is also expected to be important from a strategic point of view as the Obama administration is looking at the Asia-Pacific region as a priority. Myanmar’s democratic transition could also be one of the Obama administration’s only successful foreign relations achievement in Asia, according to Myanmar specialist David Steinberg.
And Myanmar’s been on the radar for many investors. When we spoke with investment guru Jim Rogers last month, he said with every day that goes by, he gets increasingly excited about opportunities in Myanmar. Rogers had previously said that those that invest in the country could be rich in the next 20 – 40 years and had opined, “Unfortunately I’m a citizen of the land of the free and we from the land of the free are not allowed to invest in Myanmar, it’s illegal. You could invest there, but I cannot.”