Although Costa Rica appears to be relatively better than other Latin American nations in the fight against smuggling, the truth is that it disappoints worldwide, according to the study “Global Environment Index of the
Illicit Trade,” presented by the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and which placed Costa Rica in the 46th position out of 84 countries.
The study assessed the country in areas such as Government Policy, Transparency and Trade, Supply and Demand, and Customs Environment. The best scored was obtained in Government Policy, while the lowest rating was in Transparency and Commerce.
The 84 countries analyzed correspond to the nations that represent a higher level of global trade and, according to analysts invited to the country by AMCHAM, this is a recurrent problem in most of the nations.
In the case of Costa Rica, there are enhancers to this problem. One of them is the proximity to the free trade zone of Colón, in Panama. According to Jeff Hardy, general director of the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade (TACIT), this causes a greater weight in the merchandise trade that enters the country illegally, so nations like Costa Rica must raise their voices and make other governments reduce the problem.
In Costa Rica there is a mixed commission to address the issue, created about four years ago and in which AMCHAM actively participates. On behalf of the government, the representative is the Deputy Minister of Finance, Nogui Acosta, who called for improving the objectives of this commission while ensuring that work has already begun in Customs to lessen the impact.
AMCHAM calculations indicate that cigarette and liquor smuggling alone causes loses of about $ 100 million per year. This does not take into account other products of high illicit traffic, such as drugs, clothing, among others.