Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Public Law No: 108-61 (07/28/2003)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on July 15, 2003. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act of 2003 - (Sec. 3) Prohibits the importation into the United States of any article that is a product of Burma (Myanmar) until the President determines and certifies to Congress that Burma has met certain conditions, including that: (1) the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has made substantial and measurable progress to end violations of internationally recognized human rights including rape, and the Secretary of State reports to specified congressional committees that the SPDC no longer systematically violates workers rights, including the use of forced and child labor, and conscription of child-soldiers; (2) the SPDC has made measurable and substantial progress toward implementing a democratic government, including releasing all political prisoners, allowing freedom of speech, the press, and association, permitting the peaceful exercise of religion, and concluding an agreement with the democratic forces led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and Burma's ethnic nationalities on the transfer of power to a civilian government through democratic elections under the rule of law; and (3) Burma has not been designated as a country that has failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts to adhere to its obligations under international counternarcotics agreements and to take other effective counternarcotics measures, including the arrest and extradition of all individuals under U.S. indictment for narcotics trafficking, concrete and measurable actions to stem the flow of illicit drug money into Burma's banking system and economic enterprises, and actions to stop the manufacture and export of methamphetamines. Authorizes the President to waive such requirements if it is in the U.S. national interest.

(Sec. 4) Directs the President to direct any U.S. financial institution holding funds of the SPDC or the assets of individuals who hold senior positions in the SPDC or its political arm, the Union Solidarity Development Association, to report those assets to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Authorizes the President to: (1) take such action as may be necessary to impose a sanctions regime to freeze such funds or assets; and (2) delegate such duties and authorities to appropriate Federal officers or other officials.

(Sec. 5) Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the U.S. executive director to each appropriate international financial institution to oppose any extension by such institution of a loan or financial or technical assistance to Burma until the requirements of this Act are met.

(Sec. 6) Authorizes the President to deny visas and entry to the former and present leadership of the SPDC or the Union Solidarity Development Association. Requires the Secretary of State to coordinate on a biannual basis with European Union (EU) representatives to allow officials of the United States and the European Union to ensure a high degree of coordination of lists of individuals banned from obtaining a visa by the EU for such reasons and those banned from receiving a visa from the United States.

(Sec. 7) Urges the Secretary of State to highlight the abysmal record of the SPDC to the international community and use all appropriate fora, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum and Asian Nations Regional Forum, to encourage other states to restrict financial resources to the SPDC and Burmese companies while offering political recognition and support to Burma's democratic movement, including the National League for Democracy and Burma's ethnic groups.

(Sec. 8) Authorizes the President to use all available resources to assist Burmese democracy activists dedicated to nonviolent opposition to the regime in their efforts to promote freedom, democracy, and human rights in Burma.

Directs the Secretary of State to report to specified congressional committees on: (1) the State Department's short-and long-term programs and activities to support democracy activists in Burma, including a list of constraints on such programming; (2) resources that will be necessary for the reconstruction of Burma after the SPDC is removed from power; (3) U.S. bilateral and multilateral measures by the U.S. and other governments to promote human rights and democracy in Burma; (4) the extent to which actions related to trade with Burma under this Act have been effective in improving conditions in Burma (including human rights violations, arrest and detention of democracy activists, forced and child labor, and the status of dialogue between the SPDC and the NLD and ethnic minorities), and in furthering U.S. policy objectives toward Burma; and (5) the impact of actions relating to trade taken under this Act on other U.S. national security, economic, and foreign policy interests, including relations with countries friendly to the United States.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes the President to terminate the import restrictions in this Act upon the request of a democratically elected government in Burma, provided all the conditions contained in this Act have been met. States that the import restrictions of this Act shall expire one year after enactment of this Act, unless renewed by Congress with a joint resolution meeting certain requirements. Authorizes annual renewals of this Act by joint resolution for up to three years.