China’s September E-Cigarette Exports to Paraguay Reveal Peculiar Dynamics in South American Market

In September 2023, China exported e-cigarettes to Paraguay with a total value reaching $9.24 million, corresponding to an export volume of 175 tons. Interestingly, the population of Paraguay is only around 6.78 million. When compared to Belgium, with a population exceeding 11 million, Paraguay’s import value surpasses Belgium by approximately $1 million—Belgium’s being $8.26 million.

It’s worth noting that e-cigarettes exported to Belgium may not all be intended for the local market. Belgium serves as a crucial distribution hub for e-cigarettes in the European region, covering important markets such as Germany and France. From this, one can infer that Paraguay, with a smaller population but higher import value, may also function as a transit point for e-cigarettes.

Paraguay stands out as one of the few countries in South America that has not implemented a ban on the sale of e-cigarettes. In contrast, neighboring Brazil, a populous nation with over 215 million people, has a sizable e-cigarette market. However, due to restrictions on e-cigarette sales, Brazil only imported e-cigarettes worth $4.21 million from China in September.

Logistics sources reveal that the extensive customs clearance procedures in Brazil, coupled with the substantial market demand for e-cigarettes, lead to a cumbersome process. Typically, logistics providers prefer to first transport goods to the neighboring country, Paraguay, and then facilitate entry into the Brazilian market through various means, including smuggling.

Media reports in both Paraguay and Brazil frequently feature cases of e-cigarette smuggling from Paraguay to Brazil. According to logistics providers, in the South American market, e-cigarettes bound for Brazil often choose to transit through Paraguay. This intricate trade dynamic sheds light on the challenges and strategies employed in the evolving e-cigarette market in the region.

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