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U.S. suspends trade agreement with Myanmar after military killings

U.S. suspends trade agreement with Myanmar after military killings
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the United States will suspend engagement with Myanmar under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement until Myanmar's democratically elected government is restored. File Pool Photo by Bill O'Leary/UPI | License Photo

March 29 (UPI) -- The United States on Monday suspended a trade deal with Myanmar after security forces in the country killed more than 100 protesters over the weekend.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the suspension of all U.S. engagement with Myanmar under the 2013 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement until its democratically elected government is restored.

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"The United States supports the people of Burma in their efforts to restore a democratically elected government, which has been the foundation of Burma's economic growth and reform," Tai said, using Myanmar's former name.

She added that the killing of peaceful protesters, students, workers, labor leaders, medics and children has "shocked the conscience of the international community" and are "a direct assault on the country's transition to democracy."

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Further, Tai said the USTR was also considering Myanmar's standing as Congress weighs reauthorizing the Generalized System of Preferences program, saying its targeting of unions and workers who have participated in the protests "raise serious concerns about worker rights protections."

The United States joined 11 other nations in condemning Myanmar's military junta for attacking protesters demonstrating against a coup last month as the death toll rose to at least 459 on Sunday following the slaying of more than 100 people.

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Protests have continued in the nation since the Feb. 1 coup in which the military overthrew and detained the nation's civilian leader and other high-ranking elected officials after making unsubstantiated claims of election fraud.

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Last week, the United States sanctioned Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Ltd. and the Myanmar Economic Corporation Ltd., saying it was "targeting the Burmese military's control of significant segments of the Burmese economy, which is a vital financial lifeline for the military junta."

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