PRESS RELEASE: THURSDAY, MARCH 6, 2008
U.S. HIGHLIGHTS LATEST INTERNATIONAL PROGRESS
URGES VULNERABLE NATIONS TO INCREASE EFFORTS TO
CURB TRAFFICKING OF PRECURSOR CHEMICALS
(Washington, D.C.)—The U.S. Deputy Drug Czar, Scott Burns, announced today that Mexico has made monumental strides to disrupt the methamphetamine precursor chemical trade, and is making a direct and significant impact on trafficking of finished meth into the United State.
Mexico, under the leadership of President Calderon, has drastically reduced the amount of imports of methamphetamine precursors in 2007, and has ceased to issue import permits for key meth precursor chemicals.
Sellers of products containing meth precursors must deplete their remaining supplies by 2009. Estimates indicate that the Mexican precursor control efforts have already contributed to a nearly 50 percent decrease in meth seizures along the U.S. Southwest border.
"Mexico's bold action to eliminate the flow of meth precursor chemicals benefits all nations and is helping to safeguard millions of people from the pain and social consequences that meth brings," said Deputy Director Burns. "But there is still more that can be done internationally.
Many nations remain vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking of meth chemicals. We must act collaboratively to continue to disrupt the methamphetamine market and to put the violent drug trafficking organizations that profit from the misery of addiction out of business."
Despite the widespread cooperation of most nations, many countries do not have sufficient controls in place to prevent chemical diversion, or have yet to provide sufficient reporting on legitimate commercial requirements and transactions to multilateral institutions. Many countries, such as Iran, Burma, and Syria, have not reported legitimate trade data to allow international bodies to measure licit national requirements for precursor chemicals against actual imports.
This comparison can be very useful to determine potential illicit diversion. The United States urges these countries to support the efforts of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to monitor global trade activity for pseudoephedrine and ephedrine.
To date, 105 countries have supplied the INCB with estimates of their national licit need, which has, in turn, been used to investigate and stop suspicious or excessive shipments of precursors.
Provision of legitimate trade estimates can help identify nations with imbalances in licit need versus precursor imports. For example, though they do no provide trade information, Iran and Syria report a licit need estimate for pseudoephedrine that could rank them among the top five global importers of the product.
The United States, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria on March 10th, will call on all nations to refine their estimates of precursor chemicals licit need and to support transparency by providing import and export data for these products to international trade databases.