Having already looked at China Tobacco’s activities in Europe, on 22 June, Insight Crime published an article says that China Tobacco’s factory (China National Tobacco Corporation, aka CNTC) in Panama was shut down by authorities after its cigarettes kept making their way onto the black market there. A network of companies sprang up in its place — and have been shipping huge numbers of cigarettes from Panama around the region. It refers to the Colon Free Trade Zone as “the Disneyland of smuggling”. It says that reporters have uncovered a Panama-based network of shell companies sending huge amounts of Chinese cigarettes from the free zone into Latin American countries where there is no legal market for them. The companies have ties to China’s massive state-owned tobacco company, and are selling to accused smugglers.
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