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Trade Notices

President’s FY 2005 Narcotics Certification

Robert Charles, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Statement on Narcotics Certification Washington, DC September 16, 2004

Yesterday, President Bush sent to Congress the “Majors List” and his annual determinations on narcotics certification for fiscal year 2005. This year’s “Majors List” is comprised of 22 countries. They are: Afghanistan, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

First, I would like to bring to your attention a change in Majors List membership from last year.

The President has removed Thailand from the list of major drug-transit or major illicit drug producing countries.

Thailand was removed from the Majors List because: (1) Thailand’s opium poppy cultivation is well below the levels specified in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act; (2) No heroin processing laboratories have been found in Thailand for several years; (3) Thailand can no longer be said to be a significant direct source of illicit narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances significantly affecting the United States; and (4) Thailand is no longer a country through which such drugs or substances are being transported to the United States.

Next, of the 22 countries on the Majors List, the President designated one country — Burma — as having “failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts” during the previous 12 months to meet its international counter-narcotics obligations.

Burma is the worlds second largest producer of illicit opium and remains among the worlds largest producers and traffickers of amphetamine-type stimulants. Production and trafficking of methamphetamine from Burma continues to be one of the most serious problems facing Southeast Asia.

These factors plus Burmas unsatisfactory efforts of the government of Burma to combat the production and trafficking of methamphetamine; its unwillingness to hinder the activities of drug gangs that operate freely along Burmas borders with China, Thailand, and Laos; and other factors cited in the Presidents statement of justification preclude Burmas certification.

The President also expressed concern about a number of countries in his determination — some that are on the Majors List, and some that are not.

Haiti. The President noted that, in sharp contrast to the government of Haitis dismal performance last year under the Aristide regime, the new interim government of Haiti headed by Prime Minister Latortue, has taken substantive — if necessarily limited — counter-narcotics actions in the few months it has been in office.

The President expressed deep concern, however, about the ability of Haitian law enforcement institutions to reorganize and restructure sufficiently to carry out sustained counter-narcotics efforts. A sustained commitment is now critical.

Netherlands. While the President noted the decreased use of MDMA or Ecstasy among young people in the United States as a hopeful sign, he emphasized the need to counter the threat posed by club drugs, including MDMA, for which the Netherlands continues to be the dominant source country.

While the President commended the Government of the Netherlands as an enthusiastic and capable partner in this area, he expressed concern about obstacles to mutual legal assistance and extradition from the Netherlands, and stated that there is a clear need to work more deliberately and aggressively to disrupt known criminal organizations responsible for the production and trafficking of synthetic drugs.

Working with the Netherlands, we urge the enhanced use of financial investigation tools, including full exploitation of anti-money laundering statutes and financial investigators to identify and dismantle trafficking organizations. Finally, we would urge the Netherlands use its existing legal regime to the fullest extent possible including provisions allowing for asset forfeiture from those in the drug trade.

Canada. While the vast majority of illicit drugs entering the United States continue to come from South America and Mexico, the President also remains concerned about the flow of illicit, high-purity drugs from Canada.

The President congratulates Canada for its successful efforts at curbing the diversion of precursor chemicals used in methamphetamine production. He also notes that we are now working intensively with Canadian authorities to address the increase in smuggling of Canadian-produced marijuana into the United States.

The President stated, however, that he is concerned about the lack of significant judicial sanctions against marijuana producers, which could be an invitation to greater activity by organized crime, and could, at the same time, undermine law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts on both sides of the border. Canada, for its part, has expressed its own concern to us about the flow of cocaine and other illicit substances through the United States into Canada, and we take those concerns seriously.

The big picture is certainly encouraging: United States and Canadian law enforcement personnel have collaborated on a number of investigations that have led to dismantling several major criminal organizations. We will continue to work closely together in the year ahead to confront these shared threats.

Afghanistan. Despite good faith efforts on the part of the central Afghanistan government, the President expressed concern about the increase in opium crop production in the provinces.

Nigeria. The President reported that although Nigeria put measures in place to increase the effectiveness of their National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, and met modest, agreed-upon interdiction targets, Nigerias counter-narcotics efforts continue to be undermined by, what can only be described as, pervasive political corruption.

The President called on Nigeria must take significant and decisive action to investigate and prosecute political corruption, as well as to increase transparency across the government. Such measures in addition to its decision to enter into a compact to promote transparency and combat corruption at the recent G8 meetings in Sea Island Georgia will tie directly to — and directly benefit Nigeria’s anti-narcotics efforts; strengthen the rule of law and reinforce vital democratic institutions institutions institutions central to the counter-narcotics fight.

North Korea. The President is deeply concerned about heroin and methamphetamine linked to North Korea being trafficked to East Asian countries. The President considers it highly likely that state agents and enterprises in North Korea are involved in the narcotics trade. While we know that some opium poppy is cultivated in North Korea, reliable information confirming the extent of opium production is currently difficult to attain and verify. In addition, there are clear indications that North Koreans traffic in, and probably manufacture, methamphetamine.

Although there is no evidence that narcotics originating in, or transiting, North Korea reach the United States, the United States is working closely with our partners in the region to track, deter, and stop North Korean involvement in illicit narcotics production and trafficking.

Finally, the President expressed appreciation for the efforts of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and others in the region to stop the diversion of pseudoephedrine and ephedrine used to manufacture methamphetamine. At the same time, in view of the growing methamphetamine problem in North America and Asia, he called for additional collaborative efforts to control these precursor chemicals.


Released on September 16, 2004

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