China and the Trade in Drugs

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China and the 2014 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.

China is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of precursor chemicals, with approximately 400,000 precursor chemical suppliers and distributors nationwide. As an original signatory to the 1988 UN Convention, China controls all 23 precursor chemicals. In addition, China regulates chloroform and hydroxylamine; in 2014 the PRC added bromophenylethylketone and APAAN to its precursor control list.


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The diversion of precursor chemicals originating from China for the illicit production of drugs in other countries remains a significant problem. China does not control, regulate, or monitor certain chemicals known as “pre-precursors” such as benzaldehyde and nitroethane. These pre-precursors are now the primary chemicals employed in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine in Mexico and Central America, which is often smuggled into the United States for consumption.

Most pre-precursor and precursor chemicals seized in Mexico and Central America destined for illegal production of methamphetamine were legally exported from China and illicitly diverted en route, or exported via fraudulent labeling or false declarations. Fraudulent labeling and false declarations are not criminal violations in China.

China is a significant producer of pseudoephedrine. It ranked the fourth largest exporter of pseudoephedrine, with 90,650 kg exported in 2013. It was also the fifth largest exporter of ephedrine in 2013, with 2,506 kg exported globally. ContacNT originating from China is the most prevalent type of pseudoephedrine combination product found in Australia and New Zealand, which is often used for the manufacture of methamphetamine. Although legally manufactured for domestic consumption in China, ContacNT is frequently smuggled and seized in Australia and New Zealand. China is also a major source of potassium permanganate, acetic anhydride, methylamine, peroxyacetic acid (PAA), piperonylmethylketone, hydroxylamine and other related chemicals that can be used to produce illicit drugs.

Chinese-produced pre-precursor and precursor chemicals are in high demand by transnational criminal organizations from Mexico, Colombia, West African countries, Iran, and Pakistan. However, China is increasing its efforts and engagements with multilateral partners through organizations such as the UNODC and the INCB to prevent such chemicals from ending up in illicit drug manufacturing labs.

Source: US Department of State


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China and Heroin:

China is the major trans-shipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia.
China is a major source country for methamphetamine and heroin chemical precursors.
China has a growing domestic consumption of synthetic drugs, and heroin from Southeast and Southwest Asia.

Source: World Factbook


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