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Canada's Scotiabank withdraws fr B

Canadian Friends of Burma
145 Spruce St., #206, Ottawa ON K1R 6P1, CANADA
Tel 613 237-8056, fax 613 563-0017, email cfob@xxxxxxxxxxx



Toronto, ON....... 29 September 1995 -- In April, the media run
by Burma's military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration
Council (SLORC), announced that a license had been granted to the
Bank of Nova Scotia, one of Canada's leading chartered banks, to
begin operations in Burma.

"We are not going in." This was the response of the Bank's
President, Bruce R. Birmingham, in a meeting today with
depositors and representatives of Canadian Friends of Burma
(CFOB). "The license will not be taken up, we're just going to
let it lapse." Mr. Birmingham was uncertain of the expiry date on
the license but estimated its lifetime would be from six months
to a year. He flatly stated that "we have not paid any money" and
continued that it is the bank's policy never to pay money simply
for permission to do business in any country.

The Bank reached its decision after consulting with the
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in Ottawa.
After being briefed on the political and human rights situation
in Burma, the Bank decided that now is not the time to pursue
business in that country. Mr. Birmingham noted in passing that
"Thai banks have even had their cash shipments stolen," referring
to Thai banks which have tried to set up operations in Burma. He
said that immediately following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi,
the Bank once again consulted Ottawa and decided conditions had
still not improved and therefore the Bank's position would not

"We are encouraged to see a national corporation of such stature
adopt this position. It does not only represent a good ethical
decision but a solid business decision as well," said Christine
Harmston, coordinator of CFOB's national office. "Other companies
who have experienced the SLORC-run economy have quickly concluded
that it is not a good environment in which to do business. We
hope the position taken by the Bank of Nova Scotia will inspire
other corporations to act similarly."

For more information, call CFOB at (613) 237-8056.

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