There has been a flurry of reporting in the past week about possible upcoming changes to the US sanctions program on Myanmar, before Secretary Kerry’s trip there next week, and there may be kernels of truth in the rumor mill this time.  To start out with the basics, May 20th is the date by which the President needs to renew his annual declaration of a “national emergency” in order to keep the legal framework of the sanctions in place for another year.  Unless the military decides out of the blue to relinquish its deeply entrenched role in government and commerce in the next couple of days, we can safely assume the President will renew this framework in order to maintain some pressure and leverage over the military.  But US officials have been dropping not-so-subtle hints in the past few days that something more is in the works, leaving us jittering and speculating with excitement.  At most, we could expect a few business groups to have restrictions on them lifted, along with some minor additional flexibility on broader trade sanctions.  But the broader trade sanctions have already been considerably narrowed.  It will be very interesting to see if any military-linked entities are included in this round of change, such as the sprawling Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (UMEHL) or Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).  More likely, it will only be private business groups that see major benefits.  The US could remove individuals and companies from the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, or it may opt for the more tentative step of issuing a general license allowing certain transactions with SDNs, as it has done previously for Myanmar sanctions, and more recently for Belarus.  There could also be another move to facilitate authorized commerce more broadly, like the recent General License No. 20.  At the very least, we would expect OFAC to renew General License No. 20, which expires on June 7.  What’s clear is that the Obama Administration is hoping to take some additional action on Myanmar to try to cement its legacy of diplomatic and commercial opening with that country.  Previous moves to relax US sanctions have still not been enough allow a major trade or investment relationship with the United States to take root, due to the significant risks that US sanctions continue to present.  With a new government now in power in Myanmar, the Administration seems to have determined that the time has come to decide on the appropriate level of continuing commercial restrictions with this major emerging market.