The US is to ease sanctions on Myanmar for six months, allowing goods to flow in and out of the country's shipping ports and airports in an effort to support the country's economic development as it prepares to form its new government. 

The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the temporary general license allows companies to enter into most types of transactions otherwise prohibited by the Burmese Sanctions Regulations (BSR) covering the export of goods, technology, or non-financial services to or from Myanmar.

While the US lifted most trade restrictions against Myanmar after President Thein Sein took power in 2011, an embargo remains on the many business interests of the former ruling Junta-era elite.

Last month Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party (NLD) won the country's first general election in 25 years by a landslide victory, with work now underway to form a new government. The country's apparel and footwear makers believe the anticipated transfer of power to the opposition next March should attract more foreign investment into the sector.

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The OFAC said the move to ease sanctions is intended to support exporters and to facilitate trade with Myanmar (also known as Burma) and supports the prior easing of US economic sanctions on Burma in response to significant positive reforms in the country. 

"More specifically, this general license is an effort to calibrate the impact of our Burma sanctions and to support the ongoing flow of trade with Burma," it added. "Supporting Burma's economic development – including the encouragement of normal trade with non-sanctioned businesses in Burma – is a key foreign policy goal. 

The sanctions move will provide a boost for apparel businesses sourcing from Myanmar, such as Gap Inc, which has been lobbying for movement on the unintended sanctions for months.

It is understood the US will continue to review its policies on Myanmar based on a range of issues, including the political transition, the peace process, the country's rights record and constitutional reform.