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Cablegate: Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act - Reporting

VZCZCXRO9473
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGP #0086/01 0240021
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240021Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4774
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SINGAPORE 000086

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INL JOHN LYLE
JUSTICE FOR OIA AND ARMLS
TREASURY FOR FINCEN
DEA FOR OILS AND OFFICE OF DIVERSION CONTROL
CIA FOR CNC

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM SNAR ECON ETRD PREL SN
SUBJECT: COMBAT METHAMPHETAMINE EPIDEMIC ACT - REPORTING
RESPONSES

REFS: A) STATE 686

B) 07 SINGAPORE 1989
C) 06 SINGAPORE 3654

1. (U) Per Ref A instructions, this message contains information
needed by the Department as part of the Control Methamphetamine
Epidemic Act (CMEA) reporting and certification process.

Regulatory Environment
----------------------

2. (SBU) The Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is
responsible for the monitoring and control of pseudoephedrine and
ephedrine, two precursor chemicals covered by the CMEA. Singapore
is one of the signatory countries to the 1988 United Nations
Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotics and Psychotropic
Substances. In compliance with the UN 1988 Convention, the
Government of Singapore (GOS) amended the Misuse of Drugs Act
(Chapter 185) in 1998 to control the manufacture, supply and
possession of precursor chemicals and to provide regulations on the
import, export and transshipment of these chemicals. Singapore
participates in multilateral precursor chemical control programs,
including Operation Purple, Operation Topaz, and Operation Prism.
The CNB works closely with DEA to track the import of precursor
chemicals used in the manufacture of controlled drugs (Ref B).

3. (SBU) To date, Singapore has reported no diversion of precursor
chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine. Nor has the CNB
reported the seizure of any domestic clandestine methamphetamine
laboratories in Singapore. The GOS is considered to be largely free
of corruption and neither the government nor any senior government
officials engage in, encourage or facilitate the production or
distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances, the
diversion of precursor chemicals or the laundering of proceeds from
illegal drug transactions. Singapore's Corruption Practices Bureau
(CPB) actively investigates all allegations of corruption at all
levels of government.

Pharmaceutical Growth Fuels Demand for Precursors
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. (U) Singapore's position as one of the world's largest importers
of ephedrine and a significant importer of pseudoephedrine parallels
rapid growth of the pharmaceuticals and biomedical sectors. In an
effort to diversify its economy, the GOS has embarked on a strategy
to make Singapore a regional hub for knowledge-intensive and
innovative industries. In particular, the government actively
promotes the life sciences and biotechnology sectors, including
pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Statutory Board JTC Corporation
(under the Ministry of Trade and Investment) spent approximately
US$330 million to create Phase I of "Biopolis," a state-of-the-art
biomedical research hub that opened in 2003. Similarly, JTC
invested nearly US$53 million to develop Tuas Biomedical Park, which
serves as a magnet for pharmaceutical companies.

5. (U) Singapore currently has more than 25 pharmaceuticals
manufacturing plants and includes among its investors many of the
world's leading pharmaceutical and biomedical firms, including:

Abbot Manufacturing Singapore,

Aventis,

CIBA Vision Asian Manufacturing and Logistics,

Eli Lilly,

Genetech Singapore,

GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals,

Lonza Biologics,

Merck Sharp & Dohme (Singapore),

Novartis Singapore Pharmaceutical Manufacturing,

Pfizer Asia Pacific,

Schering-Plough, and

Wyeth Nutritionals (Singapore).


SINGAPORE 00000086 002 OF 002


None of the global industry leaders produced pharmaceuticals in
Singapore seven years ago. On a combined basis, pharmaceutical and
biomedical companies have invested approximately US$19 billion in
Singapore. GlaxoSmithKline, for example, recently invested more
than US$990 million to enhance its vaccines business. On a combined
basis, the pharmaceuticals industry currently accounts for nearly
eight percent of Singapore's GDP, up from less that one percent in
2000.

6. (U) Much of Singapore's pharmaceutical production is for export,
particularly the United States and Europe. Exports from other Asian
countries also flow into Singapore for re-export. Growth in U.S.
imports from Singapore has been strongest for pharmaceuticals since
the U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement came into effect January 1,
2004. Imports of such products jumped from US$0.09 billion in 2003
to US$2.4 billion in 2006. During the first nine months of 2007,
imports of pharmaceuticals from Singapore reached US$2.2 billion, an
increase of 26.4 percent over the corresponding period in 2006. The
majority (98 percent) of these imports were cardiovascular
medicaments.

7. (SBU) We have asked CNB to provide updated data on Singapore's
trade in ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (Ref C) and to confirm when
Singapore will report its annual licit market requirements for the
abovementioned precursors to the International Narcotics Control
Board (INCB). We will report these findings septel.

HERBOLD

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