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PepsiCo is completing withdrawal fr

Subject: PepsiCo is completing withdrawal from Burma.

	PepsiCo is completing withdrawal from Burma

            January 27, 1997
            4.46 p.m. EST (2146 GMT)

            NEW YORK (AP) -- PepsiCo Inc. said Monday it is halting 
	    shipments of
            soft-drink syrup to its bottler in Burma, severing its last 
	    business ties in a
            country ruled by military leaders accused of human rights 

            Activists who have been pressing for the move said the $30 
	    billion soft drink,
            snack food and restaurant conglomerate is the biggest company 
	    to withdraw
            from the troubled Southeast Asian country. 

            "This sends an important signal to companies currently doing 
	    business in
            Burma that this is not the time to invest in Burma,'' said 
	    David M. Schilling, an
            executive with the Interfaith Center on Corporate 
	    Responsibility, an association
            of 275 religious communities and pension funds. 

            Protests last year came from Pepsi's big target market -- 
	    high school and
            college students -- and cost the company business. Harvard 
	    University turned
            down Pepsi for a $1 million contract and Stanford decided not 
  	    to allow a Taco
            Bell, a PepsiCo restaurant, on campus after 2,000 students 
	    petitioned the
            university to sever ties with companies doing business in 

            PepsiCo had announced last May that it was selling its 40 
	    percent stake in a
            soft drink bottling venture in Burma because of a combination 
 	    of business
            reasons and in response to public sentiment toward the 

            But PepsiCo continued supplying the syrup used to make its 
	    soft drink brands
            to the venture under terms of its franchise agreement. 

            Keith Hughes, a spokesman for PepsiCo in Purchase, N.Y., said 
	    Monday that
            the company had severed all relationships with the bottler on 
	    Jan. 15 and is no
            longer shipping syrup to it. 

            He said PepsiCo has been assured the bottler will "take steps 
	    to make sure all
            production and distribution of our products in Burma are 
	    ceased by May 31.'' 

            It had formed the venture called Pepsi-Cola Products Myanmar 
	    Ltd. in 1991
            Burmese businessman U Thein Tun. 

            PepsiCo based its decision to sever all ties to the bottler 
	    "based on our
            assessment of the spirit of U.S. government foreign policy 
	    toward Burma,''
            Hughes said. 

            Hughes declined comment on the size of the Burmese bottler, 
	    but industry
            sources familiar with the business said it had sales of $3.2 
	    million in 1995 and
            accounted for about 80 percent of all soft drink sales in the 

            Companies that have already left Burma include Eddie Bauer, 
	    Levi Strauss
            amd Liz Claiborne, according to Schilling. 

            He said recent efforts have turned to oil companies with 
	    interests in Burma
            including Texaco, Unocal, Atlantic Richfield and France's 

            The Rev. Joseph La Mar, another critic of the Burmese 
	    government and an
            executive with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, said it is 
	    important to get
            foreign companies to end operations in Burma because their 
	    involvement gives
            the rulers much needed hard currency. 

            He said PepsiCo's withdrawal is especially important because 
	    the company is
            known all over the world. 

       	    [FOXNews, 27 January 1997].