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Oops, Congress asked to fix slip-up in Myanmar aid bill

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[March 05, 2014]  By Anna Yukhananov

WASHINGTON (Reuters)  The Obama administration is asking Congress to fix a 2012 bill that left a World Bank agency out of a list of 12 international financial institutions that could receive U.S. support to promote development in Myanmar.

The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) promotes foreign direct investment in emerging markets by protecting private investors from various forms of political risk.

"Because of this technical problem, the United States is still required to oppose guarantees provided by MIGA for private investment in Burma," the Obama administration said in its budget request submitted on Tuesday to Congress for fiscal 2015, which begins October 1.

With only 130 employees, MIGA is one of the smallest institutions within the World Bank. More than 10,000 people work for the main World Bank unit and over 3,000 people at the International Finance Corporation, its private sector lending arm.

According to the U.S. budget request, several MIGA projects are planned for Myanmar that the United States would be forced to oppose because of the error.

Congress for years banned the United States from backing any development loans to the Southeast Asian nation, which was ruled by a military junta accused of human rights violations.

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But after five decades in power, the military government stepped aside and the country launched a series of economic and political reforms, prompting a rapid rapprochement with Washington.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; editing by Richard Chang)

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