The Greens have called on the Australian Government to sanction Myanmar’s state-owned enterprises and banks, which now “fall under the total control of the military junta.”
Last month, Wood Central reported that the regime had opened secret bank accounts to smuggle conflict timber.
The revelations come from the Irrawaddy, a news website run by Burmese exiles living in Thailand overnight.
They allege that the Myanmar Timber Enterprise, already sanctioned by the European Union, the United States and the UK, is working to use MEB bank accounts to bypass international financial sanctions.
According to the Greens, Australia has only introduced targeted sanctions on 16 members of the Myanmar military regime’s governing State Administration Council (SAC) and sanctions on two military-owned holding companies.
The Myanmar Campaign Network claims Australia has imported AU $2.5 million of timber and wood products since the coup d’etat.
“The reliance on ASEAN to adequately respond,” according to the Greens, “falls short of what the people of Myanmar so desperately need and deserve.”
“It also falls short of other state’s responses such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe.”
Earlier this year, the US imposed sanctions on Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB).
According to Brian Nelson, the US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, “Burma’s military regime has leveraged state-run access to international markets to import weapons and materiel, including from sanctioned Russian entities, to continue its violence and oppression.”
The US alleges that the military facilitated international trade by revenue-generating state enterprises such as MTE and the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE).
The Greens are now calling on the Australian Government to follow suit and impose sanctions on the Myanmar Timber Enterprise as well as the following financial institutions:
- Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB)
- Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB)
- Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC)
- Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL)
According to the US-based Forest Trends, Myanmar exported US $190 million worth of timber to the US, EU and other Western countries following the coup d’etat
The country also exported US $154 million worth of timber to China, India, Thailand and other countries.
Between February and November 2021, it was alleged that illegal private brokers or intermediaries were used to acquire US $37 million through the European Union and the US alone.