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FMX Food Merchants v HMRC

In FMX Food Merchants v HMRC (TC03100 – 29 November 2013) frozen garlic had been imported in the UK fraudulently. The garlic was declared to be of Cambodian origin purportedly entitling it to exemption from all import duties under the ‘everything but arms’ amendment to the EU’s generalised system of preferences made in favour of amongst other countries Cambodia in 2001. HMRC maintained and the appellant did not dispute this that the garlic was in fact of Chinese origin – and therefore subject to import duties.

HMRC had issued a demand for payment of the duty after the three year time limit (Customs Code articles 221(3) (4)). The question was therefore whether the demand had been validly issued.

The fraudsters had committed a criminal offence under CEMA 1979 s 167(1). The appellant (who had actually brought the goods into the UK) in...

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