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PepsiCo withdraws completely from B
Subject: PepsiCo withdraws completely from Burma (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 8:37:43 PST
Newsgroups: clari.biz.industry.food, clari.world.asia.indochina.misc,
Subject: PepsiCo withdraws completely from Burma
BANGKOK (Reuter) - U.S. soft drink giant PepsiCo Inc, which
sold its stake in a Burmese venture last year following pressure
from human rights groups, has pulled out of the country, a
spokesman said Tuesday.
A PepsiCo spokesman in New York said the company had severed
ties with its bottler in Rangoon. ``We did indicate plans to
discontinue all sales of our products there,'' he said.
Last April Pepsi sold its 40 percent stake in a venture with
Pepsi Cola Products Myanmar, following increased lobbying by
pressure groups in the United States.
But the company stll had an exclusive five-year agreement
with its former franchise bottler, Pepsi Cola Products Myanmar,
which was making four different Pepsi soft drinks.
Thein Tun, chairman of the Burmese company, was not
available for comment Tuesday. But after the initial pullout
last year he said he had a firm bottling arrangement deal with
Pepsi to continue to supply syrup to make the drinks in Burma.
The final pullout comes after repeated calls by Burmese
democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi for global companies to desist
from investing in Burma until the political and human rights
Pressure groups and Suu Kyi have accused Burma's military
government, which took power in 1988 after violently suppressing
pro-democracy protests, of human rights abuses.
The United States Senate passed a bill last year allowing
President Clinton to impose economic sanctions on Burma if the
political situation deteriorates.
A statement issued by the Free Burma Coalition said the
Pepsi decision, which went into effect on January 15, was a key
step toward drawing attention to the plight of Burma.
``The Pepsi victory will be a major morale booster for the
forces of democracy inside Burma fighting under the leadership
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy,''
Free Burma Coalition Coordinator Zarni (one name) said.
Several major companies including Oshkosh B'Gosh Inc, Liz
Clairborne, Eddie Bauer and beermakers Heineken NV and Carlsberg
have pulled out of investments or stopped sourcing products from
Burma since last year.
Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy Party won a
landslide victory in a 1990 election but the ruling State Law
and Order Restoration Council never accepted the results.