News / Asia

As Sanctions Ease, US Companies Start Investing in Burma

American tourist Ryan Russell withdraws cash from an ATM machine using a MasterCard card, the first such ATM transaction, Rangoon, Burma, November 15, 2012.
American tourist Ryan Russell withdraws cash from an ATM machine using a MasterCard card, the first such ATM transaction, Rangoon, Burma, November 15, 2012.
VOA News
With the easing of longstanding U.S. economic sanctions against Burma, major American companies are quickly starting to invest in the Southeast Asian nation.

Competing soft drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co. are returning to Burma for the first time in many years. Meanwhile, both MasterCard and Visa have reached deals with Burmese banks for use of their internationally-known credit cards. The ConocoPhillips and Chevron energy companies have been looking for investment opportunities as well.

U.S. President Barack Obama in July eased restrictions on American investment in Burma after Burmese President Thein Sein moved away from strict military control and embraced initial democratic reforms.

Obama made a short trip to Burma Monday, the first serving U.S. president to visit the country. He praised Burma's move toward democracy, while calling for more changes, which he said would lead to more U.S. economic investment.

"So today I've come to keep my promise, and extend the hand of friendship," said Obama. "America now has an ambassador in Rangoon, sanctions have been eased, and we will help rebuild an economy that can offer opportunities for its people and serve as an engine of growth for the world.''

Analysts say that Burma represents a new Asian market, after decades of being largely closed to investment from Western companies. The International Monetary Fund says Burma's economy will expand 6 percent this year, with direct foreign investment increasing 40 percent to a record of nearly $4 billion.

Natural gas is the country's biggest revenue source, but Burma needs to find new reserves to reverse a recent 15 percent annual depletion of the commodity.

You May Like

Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursionsi
X
Zlatica Hoke
August 28, 2014 4:07 AM
Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Accuses Russia of Territorial Incursions

Ukraine says a key border town (Novoazovsk) and surrounding areas of in southeastern Ukraine have fallen under the control of Russia's military. President Poroshenko says "Russian troops have actually been brought into Ukraine." Despite repeated denials from Moscow, Ukraine accuses the Kremlin of providing weapons and fighters to separatists in eastern Ukraine, toward the Russian leadership's alleged goal of annexing that strategic territory. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid