YANGON, Myanmar (AP) – Myanmar’s state-sponsored gems auction has reaped another $1.5 billion in foreign exchange despite U.S. sanctions against the industry.
The weekly Voice news magazine reported Saturday that 22,317 lots of jade, 284 lots of gems and 355 lots of pearls were sold July 1-13 at the mid-year Gems Emporium.
Some $2.8 billion was earned at the main auction in March and more than $1.44 billion at last year’s mid-year auction. Myanmar is one of the world’s biggest producers of jade and rubies.
The sales are a major foreign exchange earner for the military-dominated government, which faces sanctions from the West because of its poor human rights record. In 2008, the United States enacted legislation banning the import of gems from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
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