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MPs pledge ‘prohibitive’ fines for green line smuggling

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Fines for violating the customs legislations – controlling the flow of goods – is set to rise to “prohibitive” levels as the House finance committee seeks to clamp down on green line illegalities.

The committee heard that the business community in the Republic is in favour of higher fines to help ensure that they can remain competitive.

Deputy head of the committee Chrysis Pantelides said on Monday that discussions are underway to amend the customs code to bring it further in line with EU regulation 952 – the aim of which is to “set out the general rules and procedures applicable to goods brought into or taken out of the customs territory the European Union”.

Many goods ranging from petrol to tobacco are often brought over from the north, where the items are far cheaper due different regulations, tax rates and a much weaker currency.

Businesses in the government-controlled areas have long complained that consumers are opting for goods from the north instead and have called for the government to intervene.

Pantelides said that it has not yet been established as to how high exactly the new fines will be, but that they will be prohibitive.

“Strict and regular enforcement of the green line regulation is the duty of the state,” he said, adding that the government must act.

 

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