Beijing [China], January 29 (ANI): China's state-owned tobacco company, China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), is spreading its tentacles across the globe via illicit activities, reported Geopolitica.info.
CNTC, the world's largest producer of cigarettes and tobacco leaves, is working collectively with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to expand its global reach since the 1990s by establishing subsidiaries, tobacco farms, and retail markets worldwide.
Initially, CNTC expansion took place through joint ventures with other transnational tobacco companies, advancing independent operations as a supply chain as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
CNTC's recent expansionism strategy was flagged 'ethically dubious' by multiple independent think tanks and governments, which also accused the company's activities to be outright illegal, reported Geopolitica.info.
CNTC is also accused of smuggling tobacco to avoid the international tax drain and has flooded international markets with illegal Chinese cigarette brands to increase its customer base.
Ongoing research and investigation reports have outlined a map of CNTC's illegal activities since 2013. China tobacco has exported millions of illegal cigarette brands to Ukraine from its European factory, reported Geopolitica.info.
The shipment contained 'Regina Blue', and 'Regina Red' brand cigarettes and had no tax stamps on them. These specific brands are manufactured by CNTC.
A bust of smuggled tobacco products in Naples revealed a network of Italian and Moldovan smugglers, some linked to organised crime, who were exclusively working with CNTC.
The cigarettes were ostensibly sold to an Iraqi firm called "Devmak Company", one of China Tobacco's top buyers, and the company was paid by smugglers, reported Geopolitica.infoChina Tobacco's European branch export records show CNTC was shipping large numbers of cigarettes to this company. China Tobacco International Europe Company (CTIEC) has been accused of smuggling cigarettes into conflict zones including Libya, Syria, and Iraq.
The Chinese cigarettes have also ended up in a free trade zone at the mouth of the Panama Canal also popularly known as "The Disneyland of smuggling." After tracing the origins of these contrabands found in Colombia led to a trail of shell companies leading all the way back to CNTC, reported Geopolitica.info.
CNTC's illegal smuggling of its cigarette brands by flooding the international markets in a bold attempt to have them legalised and tax the brand.
In an infamous case in Colombia during the 1990s, when Marlboro cigarettes illegally flooded the markets, the government was somewhat forced to legalise its legitimacy since stopping the smuggling completely was not a comprehensive approach back then.
Apart from bold attempts of smuggling tobacco, CNTC is shifting production overseas. Brazil has become a major supplier, with farmers trapped in debt working under difficult conditions to grow tobacco for Chinese cigarettes, reported Geopolitica.infoMoving production abroad is just another stepping stone towards implementing its Belt and Road Initiative Strategy. China, which is the world's largest tobacco producer, is trying to take over markets in Brazil, the second-biggest tobacco producer. Brazil is an important country for CNTC's global expansion.
CNTC's expansion doesn't stop at Latin America but it further expands towards Africa, looping in its Belt and Road Initiative Strategy.
Despite being under multiple scrutiny and battling accusations of engaging in illicit trade activities, CNTC continues to grow rather quickly, reported Geopolitica.info. (ANI)