On 11 October, Insight Crime reported that seizures in the last 2 years have been frequent, with authorities finding large quantities of Chinese cigarettes in Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia and even Texas – with CNTC brands such as Golden Deer and Silver Elephant, despite there being no legal market for them in any country other than Chile. The article considers 3 key takeaways from the investigation into this booming market, and saying that there is one major gateway for Chinese cigarettes into Latin America: Panama. It cites loose regulation within Panama’s Colón Free Trade Zone exploited to import Chinese cigarettes tax-free, or even manufacture the brands within Panama.
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