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Smuggling drops after GAC efforts
By Liang Chao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-01-14 00:00

The war against smuggling seems to be paying off in China, with agencies claiming illegal traders are getting away with less.

Over the past year, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) and its anti-smuggling agencies throughout the country investigated and dealt with 17,700 cases involving 7.84 billion yuan (US$944.5 million), according to a report it released yesterday.

Although the number of cases was up 37 per cent, the values involved had dropped 21 per cent.

"We think it shows that a once ever-increasing tide has been brought under control," GAC sources announced at a national conference yesterday in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan Province.

Of all the cases, 1,068 were found to be criminal, or 6 per cent of the total, and involved 7.34 billion yuan (US$884.3 million), or 93 per cent of the total money involved.

Mou Xinsheng, GAC director-general, attributed the success to a series of special campaigns his team has launched on fraudulent commodity values and key contraband like finished oil products and cars.

"To ensure a better order for China's imports and exports, we must maintain increasing pressure on various types of smuggling and make sure smuggling on a large scale does not make a comeback."

Last year, customs duties and import-related tax revenues also increased as a result of a bigger crackdown on smuggling and other stricter measures on taxation, said Mou.

Despite consecutive tariff cuts after China's entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO), China's revenue from these reached a high of 474.4 billion yuan (US$57.15 billion) last year, according to GAC statistics released yesterday.

The figure was up 27.82 per cent over that of last year, or 103.24 billion yuan (US$12.43 billion) more than the collection target set for the whole year.

Of the total income, 104.37 billion yuan (US$12.57 billion) came from customs tariffs and 370.03 billion yuan (US$44.58 billion) was collected from import-related taxes, up 13 per cent and 32 per cent.

This is the sixth consecutive rise in customs revenues since 1999.

Duties and import taxes are an important source of the central government's revenue, making up about a third of the total.

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