Are EU Trade Sanctions on Burma Compatible with WTO Law?

This Article will explore the European Union’s approach to Burma. The European Union, until recently, has implemented quite limited trade sanctions against the Burmese junta. According to the most recent figures, E.U. countries still import €306 million ($454 million) of commodities and products, ninety-five percent of which are textiles, timber, gems, and precious metals. However, the Common Position of November 19, 2007, strengthens considerably E.U. measures against the Burmese regime and contains a ban on the importation of these goods from Burma. Further, the Common Position requires E.U. countries to prohibit intentional and knowing “participation” in activities that “directly or indirectly” have the “object or effect” of circumventing this ban; this could include the transshipment of banned materials from countries other than Burma, which may have been processed or altered in some way so that they do not qualify as imports of Burmese origin under the rules of origin that apply to imports into the European Community as a general matter.