AUTHORITIES in Bolivia recorded that illegal entry of goods in Bolivia has approximately reached $ 2.3 billion this year.
With the growing number of smuggled goods across Bolivia’s borders, the National Chamber of Industries (CNI) demanded the National Customs of Bolivia to be more assertive in its role in fighting against the dilemma.
The contraband merchandise represents USD2.3billion annually or 5.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to the business sector, as a result of the health emergency caused by the coronavirus and the closure of borders with neighboring countries, smuggling increased.
CNI said through public statement that products have formal foreign trade restrictions to enter the country and are now entering through smuggling, increasing informal trade with this, customs should carry out actions to combat smuggling at the borders to avoid deepening the noticeable unfair competition affecting the formally established national producers.
A business representative disclosed that smuggling is deindustrializing Bolivia and this illegal activity in the COVID-19 health emergency is a growing trend.
Furthermore, CNI notes that the ministry of defense and the armed forces have given various signals of their commitment to the fight against smuggling.
However, an active support and determined participation is also required on the part of the national customs which plays a fundamental role in trade and industry especially from a technical point of view.
The businessmen also point out that, through smuggling across borders, food products, beverages, textiles, plastic products, furniture and even pharmaceutical products are entering the country in a massive way and it spreads to the interior of the country via informal trade in the different markets and fairs of the nine departments in the country.
Meanwhile, the national customs explained that the entity’s highest executive authority, Jorge Zogbi, has planned to work on meetings with private sector organizations.
According to the official statement from the customs, meetings are scheduled in the following days, in order to inform the strategies regarding the facilitation of foreign trade operations and control of smuggling, within the framework of the national government reactivation plan.