By Mengqi Sun 

The U.S. imposed sanctions on two state-owned enterprises in the timber and pearl industries in Myanmar on Wednesday, as the U.S. ramps up pressure on the military regime in the country in response to the military coup there in February, the Treasury Department said.

The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which implements and enforces U.S. economic and trade sanctions, blacklisted Myanma Timber Enterprise and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise, alleging the two provide key sources of revenue for the country's military. The U.S. says the military regime is using violence to repress pro-democracy protests in the country and is responsible for lethal attacks against the people of Myanmar.

Efforts to reach the Myanma Timber Enterprise weren't successful. The Myanmar Pearl Enterprise and Myanmar's embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

"The United States will continue to target specific funding channels and promote accountability for the coup and related violence," Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said in a statement. "We will continue to support the people of Burma in their efforts to reject this coup, and we call on the military regime to cease violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma's path to democracy."

The Treasury said the sanctions aren't directed at the people of Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. The U.S. has sought to cut off funds and seize assets of those who directed the Feb. 1 takeover.

The Treasury said the Myanma Timber Enterprise, a state-owned enterprise under the country's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, is responsible for the production and export of timber on behalf of the Myanmar military regime.

Myanmar Pearl Enterprise, another state-owned enterprise under the environment ministry, is responsible for oyster-fishing and selling pearls through the Myanmar Pearl Event, in addition to approving licenses in oyster industry-related businesses, according to the U.S. Treasury.

The sanctions are the latest issued following an executive order signed by President Biden in February enabling the U.S. to blacklist the military leaders who directed the takeover, as well as their family members and business interests.

The sanctions freeze assets held by the companies within U.S. jurisdictions and prohibit U.S.-based individuals and firms from doing business with the companies, unless permitted by Treasury's OFAC.

Write to Mengqi Sun at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2021 17:54 ET (21:54 GMT)

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