Annual Presidential Certification of Major
Drug Producing and Transit Countries
Under the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) of 1961, as amended, the
President must identify and notify the Congress of those countries he
has determined are major illicit drug producing and/or drug transit
countries. President Clinton identified the current list of 26 major
illicit drug producing and/or transit countries and certain
jurisdictions and notified the Congress in November 1999. Pursuant to
the FAA, the United States is required to impose substantial
restrictions on assistance (other than specified categories of
counter-narcotics and humanitarian assistance) to these countries
unless, not later than March 1st of each year, the President makes
certain determinations and certifies them to the Congress. The FAA also
states that the United States must vote against loans to a majors list
country by any of six specified multilateral development banks, unless
that country has been certified.
The President may determine and certify to Congress that a majors
list country is cooperating fully with the United States, or has taken
adequate steps on its own, to achieve full compliance with the goals and
objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. In reaching this
determination, the President is required to consider each country's
performance in areas such as stemming illicit cultivation, extraditing
drug traffickers, and taking legal steps and law enforcement measures to
prevent and punish public corruption that facilitates drug trafficking
or impedes prosecution of drug-related crimes. The President must also
consider efforts taken by these countries to stop the production and
export of, and reduce the domestic demand for, illegal drugs.
On February 29th, President Clinton certified that 20 of the
countries and certain jurisdictions on the majors list have cooperated
fully with United States or have taken adequate steps on their own to
achieve full compliance with the goals and objectives of the 1988 UN
Drug Convention. These countries or jurisdictions are: The Bahamas,
Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama,
Peru, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
The President may also determine and certify to the Congress that
the vital national interests of the United States require that a country
be certified -- even if that country does not meet the criteria for a
certification based on either full cooperation with the United States,
or taking adequate steps on its own, to achieve full compliance with the
goals and objectives of the 1988 UN Drug Convention. The basis for such
a determination is that our vital national interests require that the
assistance that otherwise would be withheld be provided. Four countries
were certified on the basis of U.S. vital national interests: Cambodia,
Haiti, Nigeria and Paraguay.
The President did not certify two countries that do not meet the
statutory standard for certification: Afghanistan and Burma.
Decertification results in substantial restrictions on most types of
U.S. assistance to these countries.