U.S. to Ban All Burma Products, Including Gems

Congress has passed a bill that would ban all imports from Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma), including gems. The "Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003" states that, until the ruling Burmese military junta meets certain conditions regarding human rights and has made "measurable and substantial progress toward implementing a democratic government" in the country, "the President shall ban the importation of any article that is a product of Burma." The bill's full title is "An Act to sanction the ruling Burmese military junta, to strengthen Burma's democratic forces, and support and recognize the National League of Democracy as the legitimate representative of the Burmese people, and for other purposes." While most Burmese gems pass through Thailand or China before entering the United States, the government could, in theory, make life difficult for gem dealers who specialize in Burmese gems,

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