On April 24, 2012, Canada announced that due to political change
in Burma (also known as Myanmar), it has moved to lift certain of
its sanctions against Burma by removing it from the Area Control
List, and by removing most prohibitions from the Special Economic
Measures (Burma) Regulations. This alert provides an overview of
these regulatory changes and of sanctions that remain in place to
assist businesses that may wish to explore potential new
opportunities in Burma.
These amendments should be carefully reviewed and incorporated
into the export control and screening procedures of Canadian
companies who do business in and around Burma, and that are
otherwise engaged in international trade.
Area Control List
Among other amendments, Canada announced that Burma would no
longer be identified on the Area Control List under the Export
and Import Permits Act (EIPA). Under the EIPA, goods and
technology cannot be exported or transferred to a country
identified on the Area Control List except under the authority of a
permit issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As a matter of
federal policy, this designation had the practical effect of
closing Burma's borders to Canadian exporters. Going forward,
goods and technology will no longer require such a permit unless
they are otherwise included on the Canada's Export Control
Special Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations
In addition to the above, new Regulations Amending the Special
Economic Measures (Burma) Regulations remove a number of
restrictions previously set out in the Special Economic Measures
(Burma) Regulations. Promulgated under the Special Economic
Measures Act (SEMA) in 2007, the regulations contained
numerous prohibitions, most notably on the export and import of
goods, investment in property, and the provision of financial
services. These, among with other restrictions (e.g.
docking and landing of ships and aircraft) have now been
Caution, however, that the following prohibitions remain in
An asset freeze and prohibition against
dealing with a lengthy list of designated persons associated with
the military regime (including both companies and individuals);
An arms embargo covering the export of arms
and related materials, and the provision of associated technical
and financial assistance to Burma.
Therefore, in considering whether to explore any new business
opportunities in Burma, exporters must be cognizant of the
sanctions which remain in force, and are advised to address these
through the development and adoption of appropriate compliance
measures. On this point, it is important to note that trade
controls imposed under the SEMA, including the Burma sanctions,
contain anti‐circumvention provisions that forbid persons
in Canada or Canadians outside Canada from indirectly engaging in
prohibited activities by doing anything that "causes, assists
or promotes" such activities.
In recent years, Canadian trade controls and sanctions have
changed frequently and often without warning as the Canadian
government adapts its foreign policy to world events. Our
International Trade Group can assist you in updating your
compliance regimes to take account of these various measures. We
can also provide advice and assistance in determining whether you
are eligible for statutory exemptions to the sanctions or whether
you can obtain a permit for otherwise restricted or prohibited
activities or transactions.
About Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (FMC)
FMC is one of Canada's leading business and litigation law
firms with more than 500 lawyers in six full-service offices
located in the country's key business centres. We focus on
providing outstanding service and value to our clients, and we
strive to excel as a workplace of choice for our people. Regardless
of where you choose to do business in Canada, our strong team of
professionals possess knowledge and expertise on regional, national
and cross-border matters. FMC's well-earned reputation for
consistently delivering the highest quality legal services and
counsel to our clients is complemented by an ongoing commitment to
diversity and inclusion to broaden our insight and perspective on
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