Saturday, May 30, 2015Saturday, May 30, 2015

Freer trade may lead to more illicit drugs in South-east Asia: Report

Published on Mar 4, 2014 1:46 PM

Greater economic integration among countries will make it easier for criminal syndicates to get their hands on chemicals that are used to make illicit drugs, UN experts have warned.

As countries create free trade zones and reduce trade barriers, they should bear in mind the opportunity this will provide to manufacturers and distributors of illicit chemicals and drugs, a report issued on Tuesday by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said.

"Sufficient thought has not been given to the implications of greater regional integration - and how it makes connecting of chemicals, drugs and markets easier and more efficient,'' said Jeremy Douglas, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative for South-east Asia and the Pacific.

"As legal trade accelerates it is likely that illegal trade will accelerate," he said in Bangkok on Tuesday.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!