We continue to closely monitor the international response to the political situation in Myanmar and are providing regular updates in relation to sanctions and other developments that may impact international businesses with interests or operations in Myanmar.

For further information on the current situation, please get in touch with one of our key contacts below.

US sanctions

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury announced overnight the addition of two key Myanmar entities to its Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List).

The two designated entities are Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (a.k.a. Myanmar Economic Holding Limited) (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).

The SDN List designation means that all dealings with these companies and any entities 50% or more owned by these companies will be prohibited.

This is a significant development, since MEHL and MEC are Myanmar’s two largest conglomerates, and have entered into partnerships with many foreign investors across a broad range of industry sectors since the relaxation of international sanctions starting in 2010.

In parallel with the designation of MEHL and MEC, OFAC has issued a series of special licenses pursuant to Executive Order 14014 “Blocking Property With Respect to the Situation in Burma” (EO14014), which allow for the continuation of official business of the US government in Myanmar and certain activities or transactions conducted by NGOs, or in support of NGOs.

For companies with extant relationships or transactions with MEHL and/or MEC, General License No.4 authorises activities necessary for the winding down of transactions with the designated entities until 22 June 2021.

For further information on EO14014 and previous US measures in respect of Myanmar, please see our earlier briefings here and here.

UK sanctions

The UK government has also designated MEHL under its Global Human Rights sanctions regime. The designation prohibits all dealings with MEHL and any entities “owned or controlled” by MEHL. The statement issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on Thursday 26 March announcing the designation of MEHL, also refers to a temporary suspension of all promotion of trade with Myanmar.

EU sanctions

Earlier this week, the EU designated 11 individuals connected with the Myanmar military, many of whom had been previously designated by the US. Details of the designated individuals and the measures implemented by the EU in respect of Myanmar more generally can be seen in the announcement of the EU Council.


Kyle Wombolt
Kyle Wombolt
Global Head, Corporate Crime & Investigations, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4005
Pamela Kiesselbach
Pamela Kiesselbach
Senior Consultant, Hong Kong
+1 +852 2101 4032
Jeremy Birch
Jeremy Birch
Partner, Hong Kong
+852 2101 4195