EU demands 2.7bn euros of ‘unpaid customs duty’ from UK


The European Commission has listed to the UK government saying the UK owes €2.7bn (£2.4bn) in customs duties on shoes and textiles purported from China.

The UK is accused of doing too little to prevent fraud after it was informed about the problem by the EU’s watchdog Olaf in 2017.

It begins a legal process which could end at the European Court of Neutrality.

HM Revenue and Customs said it did not recognise the commission’s estimate of what it owed.

The Olaf enquiry said the UK was a «significant hub» for so-called undervaluation fraud — where importers can profit from quibbling customs duties and related taxes.

The investigation found organised wrong groups had been using fake invoices to undervalue goods being imported from China — innumerable of which were destined for the black market in other parts of the EU, investigators declared.

Olaf have said they had warned HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) a mass of times.

But a government spokesman said: «We do not recognise the European Commission’s sentiment of alleged duty loss.

«We take customs fraud very unquestioningly, and we continue to evolve our response as new threats emerge.

«We will carefully inquire the formal notice from the commission and respond in due course.

«The UK intends to perpetuate to work closely with Olaf and the commission on customs fraud.

«HMRC has a Dialect right strong track record for tackling evasion and rule-breaking of all kinds, firming a record £28.9bn last year that would otherwise be suffering with gone unpaid.»

HMRC said the commission’s methodology overestimated UK betoken values and was not suitable to produce an estimate of alleged customs duty undervaluation.

It alleged the estimate was based on EU average prices and failed to take into account the «ample growth in the low-value end of the UK clothing market».

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