Friday, August 16, 2013

Myanmar business dealings still opaque

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is called on to ensure companies working in Myanmar are fully transparent, EarthRights International said.
 The group, working on behalf of human rights and the environment, said it helped draft a letter to President Obama, calling on him to ensure companies investing in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, are "complete and forthcoming" in their transactions.

ERI said it found "serious weaknesses" in financial disclosures so far. The group said it wanted the president to tighten transparency measures for Myanmar regardless of the natural of investments.

"We also ask the government to clarify how it is tracking the reporting requirements disclosures to ensure that all covered companies are disclosing fully and in a timely manner," ERI said Tuesday.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget in May said U.S. entities that have new net investments of more than $500,000 need to report on policies and procedures in Myanmar by July 1. The reporting requirements extend to human rights, corruption and any arrangements with security service personnel.

Sanctions have eased on Myanmar as the country takes steps toward democratic reform. Human rights groups said sanctions encouraged those reforms in the first place.

Revenue Watch Institute in June gave the country its lowest rank in a report on transparency in the extractive industries