H.J.Res. 56: Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes

H.J.Res. 56

Approving the renewal of import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003, and for other purposes

Sponsor
Rep. Joseph Crowley

Date
July 20, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.J.Res. 56 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.J.Res. 56 was introduced on June 4, 2009, by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY).

Bill Summary

H.J.Res. 56 resolves that Congress approves the renewal of the import restrictions contained in the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 for one year. The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 prohibits the importation of any article that is a product of Burma and is scheduled to expire on July 26, 2009.

Background

The Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 was enacted in response to human rights abuses and anti-democratic activities of the military regime ruling in Burma. The Act prohibited the importation of any article produced, mined, manufactured, grown, or assembled in Burma. The sanctions may be lifted if the President certifies to Congress that a series of conditions inside Burma have been met-including substantial and measurable progress to end human rights violations.

According to a State Department report, in 2008 "The regime [in Burma] continued to abridge the right of citizens to change their government and committed other severe human rights abuses. Government security forces allowed custodial deaths to occur and committed other extrajudicial killings, disappearances, rape, and torture. The government detained civic activists indefinitely and without charges. In addition regime-sponsored mass-member organizations engaged in harassment, abuse, and detention of human rights and prodemocracy activists."

Before the sanctions entered into force, trade between the United States and Burma totaled $283 million. Almost all of this trade was imports from Burma, primarily garments and other textile goods.