The United States will start lifting a ban on imports of goods from Myanmar, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said , providing a huge potential boost to the once-isolated southeast Asian nation. Clinton said on Wednesday that the gradual lifting of the ban, which has been in place for most of the last two decades, was a response to the continued implementation of political and economic reforms by the government of Myanmar President Thein Sein, according to the (CNN). "We will begin the process of easing restrictions on imports of Burmese goods into the United States," she told Thein Sein. "We hope this will provide more opportunities for your people to sell their goods into our market." The announcement is the latest and one of the most important steps in the growing rapprochement between the United States and Myanmar after Thein Sein's government made its first moves towards reform two years ago. The United States has already lifted many restrictions on its companies investing in Myanmar and has also held discussions about establishing ties with the military. The process of lifting sanctions on imports is likely to be slow and gradual. A senior U.S. official said that the administration would discuss the next steps with Congress and would likely phase in the lifting of restrictions on a sector-by-sector basis.