10 Dec 2012
Garlic is big business and - unfortunately - much of the garlic we eat in the West is imported from
China. In the EU, imports of garlic are currently taxed at rates varying from 9.6% for preserved
garlic up to 14.4% if frozen.
Where there are taxes there are tax frauds. The BBC reports that a London has been sentenced to six years in jail
for smuggling garlic into the UK. The garlic was brought into Southall then sold on to wholesalers.
The fraud is believed to have been worth £2 million and came to light after UK Border Agency staff
discovered some 7,000 kilos of garlic which hadn't been properly declared.
It appears that the smugglers were declaring that instead of garlic they were actually importing ginger
- on which there is no import duty. However many of the containers were being stored at a temperature
that, whilst inappropriate for ginger, would be perfect for garlic.
UK customs (HMRC) said:
"This is the only prosecution involving garlic in recent years, although we have mounted prosecutions for similar offences involving a wide range of commodities. For example, ring binder mechanisms and industrial pipe fittings."