Gems net billions for Myanmar
Yangon - Myanmar's state-sponsored gems auction has reaped another $1.5bn in foreign exchange, despite US sanctions against the industry.
The weekly "Voice" news magazine reported on Saturday that 22 317 lots of jade, 284 lots of gems and 355 lots of pearls were sold July 1-13 at the mid-year Gems Emporium .
Some $2.8bn was earned at the main auction in March and more than $1.44bn at last year's mid-year auction. Myanmar is one of the world's biggest producers of jade and rubies.
The sales are a major foreign exchange earner for the military-dominated government, which faces sanctions from the West because of its poor human rights record. In 2008, the United States enacted legislation banning the import of gems from Myanmar.