Monday, 4 February 2013

Any Garlic to Declare Sir?

Apparently this is not as silly a question as it might appear to be at first glance. Garlic smuggling within the European Union seems to be big business. Apparently, in 2001, our European masters in Brussels brought in an import duty on garlic of €1200 per tonne plus 9.6% of the total. This €1200 figure applies after a fairly modest quota has been exceeded. Protectionism was of course the reason behind the move. The EU growers of garlic, mostly Spanish, were finding it increasingly difficult to compete against Chinese growers. China now produces some eighty percent of the world's garlic production.


It is reported that Sweden has issued international arrest warrants in respect of two British men suspected of illegally importing €8m of garlic into the European Union via Norway. Closer to home, in December of 2012, a man from west London received a six year sentence for smuggling Chinese Garlic. In the Republic of Ireland the former head of what is described as Ireland's largest fruit and veg business was jailed for six years after he admitted to labelling more than one thousand tonnes of garlic as apples and thus avoiding €1.6 m of import duty. He is presently awaiting the outcome of his appeal on sentence.


Devotees of garlic may want to keep 14th September 2013 free. That has been announced as the date for the inaugural World Garlic Eating Competition. This is to be held at Chideock, Devon. Pre entries cost £5 whilst entry on the day will set back the hungry lover of garlic £10.


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