Confiscated cocaine drug packets
Cocaine packs confiscated by the US Drug Enforcement AdministrationUS Drug Enforcement Administration

US President Barack Obama has released a list of 22 nations the United States says are leading producers of illicit drugs and transit hubs. The list includes Afghanistan, the Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Myanmar, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

As per the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (FRAA), the US president has to notify the US Congress of the countries he deems to be "major illicit drug-producing countries or major drug-transit countries that significantly affect the United States." Obama informed Congress that Myanmar in Asia, and Bolivia and Venezuela in South America have "failed demonstrably in the past 12 months to make any meaningful effort to adhere to their obligations under international counter-narcotics agreements", a US Department of State statement read.

However, the statement said "a country's presence on the list does not necessarily reflect its counter-narcotics efforts or its level of cooperation with the United States on illegal drug control". Yet, it reflects geographic, commercial and economic factors that allow drugs to be produced and/or trafficked through the country.

Nonetheless, a mention on the list can attract various sanctions, unless the president executes "a national interest waiver of the designation when he determines there is a vital national interest in continuing US assistance", the statement said.