News from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency
ARLINGTON, Va. - Today, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency announced the Agency is resuming its program in Argentina for the first time since 2005. Prior to 2005, USTDA's highly successful program in Argentina had supported priority projects primarily in the transportation, environmental and energy sectors. These programs contributed to significant U.S. industry engagement in the country while also helping to advance Argentina's infrastructure goals.
"USTDA is very pleased to be re-engaging with Argentina," said Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Nathan Younge. "We look forward to working with new partners in the public and private sectors across Argentina to achieve mutually-beneficial results."
Following President Mauricio Macri's commitment to attract major investments in Argentina's infrastructure development, USTDA will prioritize the advancement of transportation, IT and clean energy projects to support the country's goals.
USTDA announced the reopening of its program during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on "Argentina's New Economic Agenda," as a precursor to the U.S.-Argentina Commercial Dialogue in Washington, D.C. The Dialogue will provide an opportunity to highlight USTDA's project preparation programs and lay the groundwork for launching new partnerships across Argentina.
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News from the U.S. Department of the Treasury
WASHINGTON – Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order terminating the national emergency with respect to Burma, revoking the Burma sanctions Executive Orders, and waiving other statutory blocking and financial sanctions on Burma. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are no longer in effect. These steps fulfill the announcement made by President Obama during the visit of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, stand as a testament to the far-reaching changes that Burma has undergone in the past few years, and are intended to support efforts by the civilian government and the people of Burma to continue their process of political reform and broad-based economic growth and prosperity.
“Burma has made significant strides in recent years, including choosing a civilian-led, democratically elected government,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Lifting economic and financial sanctions will further support trade and economic growth, and Treasury will continue to work with Burma to implement a robust anti-money laundering regime that will help to ensure the security of its financial system.”
Termination of the Burma Sanctions Program
Executive Order (E.O.) ______ of October 7, 2016,“Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Actions and Policies of the Government of Burma,” terminated the national emergency, revoked E.O.s 13047, 13310, 13448, 13464, 13619, and 13651, and waived financial and blocking sanctions in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008. As a result, the economic and financial sanctions on Burma administered by OFAC are no longer in effect. This includes the following impacts, among others:
The termination of the Burma sanctions program does not impact Burmese individuals or entities blocked pursuant to other OFAC sanctions authorities, such as counter-narcotics sanctions. They remain on the SDN List, and their property and interests in property remain blocked. Further, pending or future OFAC enforcement investigations or actions related to apparent violations of the BSR when in effect may still be carried out.
Banking with Burmese Banks
This Executive Order terminates all OFAC-administered restrictions and authorizations under the Burma sanctions program pertaining to banking with Burma. This includes the OFAC general licenses issued in 2012 and 2013 that authorized certain correspondent account activity with Burmese banks.
In 2003, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) found Burma to be a “jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern” under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. As a result, FinCEN issued a prohibition on U.S. financial institutions from maintaining correspondent accounts for Burmese banks. The 2003 finding remains in place, but FinCEN is issuing an administrative exception today to suspend the prohibition so that U.S. financial institutions can continue to provide correspondent services to Burmese banks, subject to the appropriate due diligence requirements. This exception is based on Burma’s progress in improving its anti-money laundering regime and its commitment to continue making progress to address money laundering, corruption, and narcotics-related activities. FinCEN intends to rescind its action in its entirety when Burma has made sufficient progress in addressing these issues.
FinCEN’s administrative exception can be found here.
Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, with tours of duty in major U.S. embassies around the world, Ambassador Allen also served as U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia and later China, as well as being posted at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Ambassador Osius served at posts in India, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. (See attached bios).
Over 33 international companies and organizations attended, representing a broad cross section of the region’s major exporting sectors, including health, aviation, food export and higher education.
The Ambassadors’ visit is part of a U.S. tour and an opportunity to expand trade with one of the most rapidly growing regions in the world and to further discussion on the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade agreement. Both Ambassadors spoke compellingly on TPP, noting that TPP countries currently account for 40% of global trade, with the agreement eliminating customs duties on exports for major sectors in the region. (See attached TPP info from US Department of Commerce and USDA).
The discussion centered on significant opportunities for area businesses and institutions in various categories including: Health, Higher Education, Energy and Suppliers/Precision Manufacturing, Aviation/Helicopters, Smart Cities Technology and Entrepreneurship. According to Ambassador Allen, Brunei has extensive off-shore oil and gas drilling operations that require helicopter support and represent an opportunity for our energy suppliers and aviation sector. Over 19,000 students from Vietnam are currently enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher learning, with Ambassador Osius underscoring the significant opportunity for the U.S. to build important commercial and cultural ties, citing a recent survey where over 92% of respondents selected the United States as Vietnam’s favored country.
Philadelphia’s legendary Bassetts Ice Cream, currently exports ice cream to China, and President Michael Strange has interest in expanding to additional markets like Vietnam.
According to Linda Conlin, President of the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, “At the World Trade Center of Greater Philadelphia, we seek to offer our members timely information and important international connections to accelerate their global growth. At this time of national and local debate on trade, these senior diplomats identified specific export opportunities in their countries and articulated concrete TPP benefits to area companies that will increase business and economic growth and jobs for our communities.”
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