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Pres. Bush Uses Authority to Alter Burmese JADE Act

Jan 19, 2009 4:21 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...  President George W. Bush waived some provisions in the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act against Myanmar on January 15, less than one week before leaving office. The bill, which was supported by many in the U.S. diamond and jewelry trade, was signed into law in July 2008 and was intended to prevent rubies and jade from Myanmar from entering the U.S., whether directly or through third-party countries.

The Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 froze the finances of Myanmar's military leaders and their families in all U.S.-owned banks. It also froze the assets of all parties, whether named explicitly or not, who support Myanmar's government, and made provisions for sanctions against those who choose to do so in the future. President Bush's waiver released those unnamed and/or future supporters, limiting sanctions to those already listed on the U.S. Treasury Department's list of blocked persons. "Because the imposition of effective and meaningful blocking sanctions requires the identification of those individuals and entities targeted for sanction and the authorization of certain limited exceptions to the prohibitions and restrictions that would otherwise apply, I hereby determine and certify that such a limited waiver is in the national interest of the United States," the president wrote in a memorandum to the secretary of state and the secretary of the treasury.

According to the orginal bill, the president was granted the authority to authorize changing provisions without congressional approval. Representative Howard Berman (Democrat-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was not pleased. "I am disappointed at the decision to waive sanctions against all unnamed persons subject to the JADE Act, and believe it is contrary to the law." Berman said. "Now those who are supporting the Burmese military clique and who have not yet been publicly identified by the Treasury Department will get a free pass -- just what Congress was trying to prevent. It is puzzling that a president who has professed support for Burmese advocates for freedom has made a decision in his final days in office that was both unnecessary and so contrary to his past actions."

As a reminder to the U.S. trade: U.S. Customs & Border Protection continues to enforce requirements concerning the import and export of rubies and jadeite from Myanmar, neither of which are permitted to enter the country. Customs has issued new Harmonized Tariff System codes for use for all non-Burmese rubies, jadeite and jewelry containing these gemstones imported into the U.S. Shipments of rubies and jadeite from non-Burmese sources must bear these codes when entering the country. Importers are required to maintain full records related to the purchase, manufacture and shipment of non-Burmese goods for five years, and to provide these records to customs upon request.

The importation ban does not apply to jadeite or rubies that are imported for personal use, i.e. to be worn by the importer. Furthermore, the bill does not address U.S. sales of any inventory of  jadeite or rubies currently in the U.S. Importers and exporters can send questions to customs at jade.act@cbp.dhs.gov or read more at www.cbp.gov


Full Text of President Bush's Order:

Title 3 -- The President -- Limited Waiver of Certain Sanctions Imposed by, and Delegation of Certain Authorities Pursuant to, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 -- Memorandum for the Secretary of State and the Secretary of the Treasury

Document Number: Presidential Determination No. 2009-11 of January 15, 2009/Page Number: 3957

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States, including the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-286) (JADE Act) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, in order to ensure that the United States Government's sanctions against the Burmese leadership and its supporters continue to be implemented effectively, to allow the reconciliation of measures applicable to persons sanctioned under the JADE Act with measures applicable to the same persons sanctioned under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.), and to allow for the implementation of additional appropriate sanctions:

(1) I hereby waive, pursuant to section 5(i) of the JADE Act, the provisions of section 5(b) of the JADE Act with respect to those persons described in section 5(a)(1) of the JADE Act who are not included on the Department of the Treasury's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. Because the imposition of effective and meaningful blocking sanctions requires the identification of those individuals and entities targeted for sanction and the authorization of certain limited exceptions to the prohibitions and restrictions that would otherwise apply, I hereby determine and certify that such a limited waiver is in the national interest of the United States.

(2) I hereby delegate to the Secretary of the Treasury the waiver authority set forth in section 5(i) of the JADE Act, including the authority to invoke or revoke the waiver with respect to any person or persons or any transaction or category of transactions or prohibitions by making the necessary determination and certification regarding the national interest of the United States set forth in that section. I hereby direct the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State and with necessary support from the Intelligence Community, as defined in section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947, as amended (50 U.S.C. 401a(4)), to continue to target aggressively the Burmese regime and its lines of support. I further delegate to the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to take such actions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of section 5(b) of the JADE Act. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. The authorities delegated to the Secretary of the Treasury under this memorandum shall be exercised after consultation with the Secretary of State.

(3) I authorize the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, to take such actions as may be necessary to make the submissions to the appropriate congressional committees pursuant to section 5(d) of the JADE Act.

I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to report this determination to the appropriate congressional committees and to publish it in the Federal Register .

/S/ George W. Bush

THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, January 15, 2009

 


NC

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