Singapore does not ban trade with Myanmar, but prevents sale of items that can hurt civilians: Vivian

Singapore has not enforced a general trade ban on Myanmar as it does not want to deteriorate the pain of people in the nation, said Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Monday. But simultaneously, the Republic kept its promise to enforce its rule to hinder the sale of items that have potential military application to Myanmar and can be used to hurt unarmed civilians. Dr Balakrishnan was replying in a written reply to Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) and Workers’ Party MP Dennis Tan (Hougang) who had asked about a report published on May 17 by United Nations Special Rapporteur in Myanmar Tom Andrews. The report had flagged how Singapore-based entities were a part in the flow of supplies to Myanmar’s military, along with other items. It had supposedly discovered that US$254 million (S$343 million) worth of “arms and related goods” were shipped to the military through the Singapore-based entities.

Dr Balakrishnan took note that an initial list of 47 entities were recognized, and more recently, another 91 entities were flagged as well. “We take Mr Andrews’ report very gravely, and have urged him to give specific and verifiable proof to aid our attempts,” he revealed, also he said that this was an upgradation and that investigations are going to continue. The goal, however, is not to bar trade with Myanmar, said the minister. He shared that in 2022, Singapore’s total bilateral trade with the nation was $5.8 billion. Most of the 47 entities previously flagged no longer have business solutions with Singapore banks. The banks will review the remaining accounts and take required steps, involving polished scrutiny, to make sure that the transactions processed by these entities are valid.