The US has taken further steps to ease restrictions on US corporate investment and business activities in Myanmar, following intense debate within the US Treasury and the State department after Washington softened sanctions against the country last July.

The move frees US citizens and companies to conduct business with four of the country’s biggest banks, of a total 19 banks. All four banks have faced US sanctions and at least two of the institutions are controlled by people who have been on so-called US “blacklists”, naming individuals with close business and financial links to the former military regime. Read more

The picture tells the story: US President Barack Obama kisses Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during his brief visit to Yangon on Monday.

Of course, he didn’t go on to hug president Thein Sein, the former general who two years ago ended Suu Kyi’s house arrest and is now cautiously liberalising Myanmar. Read more

Myanmar used to be a major exporter of many products – from rice to clothing to its world-famous red rubies. But crippling sanctions left the country with few willing buyers aside from China and India who just wanted fuel or food.

That looks set to change with the US about to lift restrictions on exports from the country. But what might US consumers actually buy from Myanmar? Read more