Jan 9, 2012

US corporate high-flyers plan visit for late January

Some of the most prominent names in corporate America plan to travel to Myanmar late this month for a six-day visit being organised by a leading United States’ lobby group, Business Executives for National Security. The founding chairman of BENS, Mr Stanley Weiss, will lead the group of about 14 present or former leaders of some of the best-known US corporations during the visit, which is due to begin on January 31, a spokesperson told The Myanmar Times last week. The group is expected to make a courtesy call on President U Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw on February 3, said the spokesperson, who requested anonymity. A lavish itinerary has been prepared for the visit, with the group travelling by private plane and staying in luxury hotels at Bagan, Putao, Inle Lake and Yangon. The itinerary includes a hot-air balloon trip at Bagan and sight-seeing tours from Putao in four-wheel drive vehicles and by private helicopter. A dinner is also being arranged at The Strand hotel on February 4 to enable members of the BENS group to meet leading members of the community. Mr Weiss, the former chairman of American Premier, a mining, chemicals and mineral processing company, founded BENS in 1982. His website says the group is a non-partisan organisation of senior executives who use the best practices of business to strengthen US national security. Mr Weiss has written widely on public policy issues in a number of publications including the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. In an opinion piece published in the International Herald Tribune on February 20, 2009, Mr Weiss criticised the imposition of sanctions on Myanmar by the US. “Sanctioning Myanmar may make Americans feel good, but feeling good and doing good are not the same,” he wrote. “If the US intent is to improve people’s lives in Myanmar, it must find a new way forward.” Source: Myanmar Times