The Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative is a set of transnational rules that aims at improving governance in the oil, gas and mining sector. Several resource rich countries have joined the initiative since its inception in 2002. The question is why and with what effect? The article explores the case of Myanmar and argues that both state and non-state actors use the transnational regulations of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative framework for their own ends. While the government attempts to attract broader foreign investment and increased foreign aid, civil society tries to address the human rights situation in the country. While this ultimately leads to conflict and confrontation in a society shaken by a long period of authoritarianism and civil wars, there is potential for the Myanmar Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative to provide an opportunity to improve state–society relations and build inclusive governance structures with an improved human rights record. However, the challenges are massive given the weakness of the state, ongoing armed conflict in ethnic minority areas and low trust between political actors.