The EU has reiterated its plans to impose a ban on timber imports from Burma because of human rights abuses by the military dictatorship running the country.

At an EU Council meeting in Luxembourg on October 15, ministers spelled out a series of stronger economic measures in view of the “seriousness” of the current situation in Burma and to show solidarity with ordinary people in the country.

The proposed measures, intended to increase direct pressure on the regime, include an export ban on equipment to Burma’s logging and timber sector, an import ban of wood products from the country and a embargo on investments in the sector.

Such a move would impact the country’s lucrative teak industry.

The EU said it was willing to assist Burma but that the Burmese government had made this impossible so far.

“Should this situation improve, the EU stands ready to review the restrictive measures, to engage with Burma in its development and to find new areas of co-operation,” the council said.

An EU spokesperson told TTJ that the extended embargo has not been adopted yet but that a ban could come into force within weeks.