The importance of reasonable Customs

18 May, 2007

A Yorkshire wine merchant is challenging Revenue & Customs over importing regulations which require small businesses to say in advance how much wine they will bring back with them from Europe.

Pascal Watkins, of Wine Cave in Hetton, says the law is farcical because it means independent merchants cannot buy spontaneously when visiting producers .

He said: "If I use a shipping company they pay the duty on my behalf, but ship in quantities of 600. I do about two or three trips to France a year and if I find something and want to bring say 60 bottles back, I can't ." He add ed: "This whole system probably encourages people to not do it in a legitimate way."

Ripon and Skipton MP David Curry has offered to take the matter to the Chancellor on Watkins' behalf.

Watkins said he would like the introduction of a system whereby goods are inspected at customs and duty is paid there before merchants return to the UK.

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