The United States issued an advisory Wednesday warning of the increased risk of conducting business in Myanmar nearly a year after a military coup in the Southeast Asian country, which is also known as Burma.
The advisory from the U.S. State Department warned it was especially risky for “individuals, businesses and financial institutions and other persons” to be associated with business activity in Myanmar “that could benefit the Burmese military regime.”
The advisory cited the possibility of exposure to illegal financial and reputational risks by doing business there, and using supply chains controlled by the military.
“The coup and subsequent abuses committed by the military have fundamentally changed the direction of the economic and business environment in Burma,” the advisory said.
Former de factor leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) led Myanmar since its first open democratic election in 2015, but Myanmar’s military contested the November 2020 election results, claiming widespread electoral fraud, largely without evidence.
The military removed the NLD government in a coup on Feb. 1, 2021, detaining Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
Since then, the military government has used deadly force in clampdowns on protests while escalating efforts to neutralize ethnic minority armies and newly formed militias allied with the NLD government. Wednesday’s advisory said the military “has killed more than 1,400 innocent people” since its takeover.
The advisory said state-owned enterprises were of greatest concern, as well as the gems and precious metals, real estate, construction and defense industries, noting that they have been identified as providing economic resources for the junta.
The advisory was issued after oil giants Chevron Corporation and TotalEnergies said last week the worsening humanitarian situation prompted them to withdraw from the country, where they were working together on a major gas project.