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US Senator: Myanmar should not receive trade benefits until after election


Republican Senate Majority Leader from Kentucky Mitch McConnell walks back to his office after speaking to the media about President Obama's trade agenda in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 23 June 2015. Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

The United States should not provide trade benefits to Myanmar until after November parliamentary elections that will signal the state of political reform in the former pariah state, Senate leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday accord to an Associated Press report on 9 July.

The Republican Senator strongly criticized the quasi-civilian government of Myanmar for blocking changes late last month to a junta-era constitution that still gives the military a veto on any amendments and prevents opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from running for the presidency.

McConnell, who is a prominent voice in Congress on U.S. policy toward Myanmar, said its leaders “took a step backward from the path to more representative government.”

He said additional steps to normalize relations, such as including Myanmar in a program that provides duty-free benefits to poor countries, should be put on hold until after the vote.

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