The United States eased import restrictions on goods from Myanmar for the first time in nearly a decade, a day ahead of President Barack Obama's historic trip to the country.
This marks a step forward in the US rapprochement with the rapidly reforming country, and could be a further political boost to the former general now leading changes in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
Officials said the Myanmar government said easing the import ban could help further integrate their country into the global economy. "Today's joint actions...are intended to support the Burmese government's ongoing reform efforts and to encourage further change, as well as to offer new opportunities for Burmese and American businesses," the US Treasury and State departments said in a joint statement on Friday.
The government issued a waiver and general license to ease the ban on most goods, though it will not cover jadeite and ruby.
Obama left on Saturday for a three-country swing through Asia, using his first foreign trip since re-election to emphasise his administration's focus on the region. Obama will make stops at Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia.