Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Archaeo-blogger Rick St. Hilaire seeks to smear an entire industry by suggesting that a difference in values of art and artifacts exported from the UK to the US as recorded by the authorities may be due to money laundering. But both the US and UK use the same customs codes and UK and US authorities should have access to the same customs documentation. Moreover, there is no tax dodge involved; art and artifacts enter duty free. So, isn't it far more likely that instead of evidence of money laundering, what we have is simply evidence that UK authorities are more efficient at data collection?
Posted by Cultural Property Observer at 4:29 PM
Labels: Blogging, US Customs
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First of all, I see St Hilaire makes a careful observation of facts and then poses a question which he suggests needs an answer from those responsible.
Secondly, your own suggested answer suggests that your borders are so badly overseen that Homeland Security has absolutely no idea what is coming in - which you dismiss, saying others are "more efficient at data collection" than your own people.
Do you not find that disturbing? What else is moving through US borders slipping through the US gaps in "data collection"?
Careful observations and then poses a question? More like the cheap lawyer's trick, "How many times do you beat your wife?"
Pure speculation on my part, but I suspect they may not be that careful with recovering this data because there is no real reason to collect it-- no duty need be paid.
It's obvious to me at least, that St Hilaire, like his Warsaw counterpart, is not averse to scraping the barrel for an excuse to smear the 'old enemy.'
Is he seriously asking us to believe that $2-billion has gone adrift and all under the very noses of US Customs/Homeland Security who've seemingly yet to notice this vast discrepancy?
Indeed, if he REALLY HAS uncovered, or reasonably suspects he has uncovered, a massive fraud he should immediately put his evidence in the hands of the appropriate investigative authorities if he hasn't done so already.
An individual who ships material asked me to post this explanation:
Rick is saying that the tariff numbers (codes) for fine art in the UK and US are the same so why is there a discrepancy. His conclusion is that there is some illegal going on.
It is true that the 97 chapter tariff numbers (codes) are the same between the UK and US. However it is also true that the US has additional tariff numbers (codes) in chapter 98, exclusive to the US.
Chapter 9801 eliminates the merchandise processing fee payable to US Customs if made in America. This would be used over the 97 numbers, saving the client approx. $485 in fees. It is grouped in with all of the other articles made in the US so would be hard to identify the American art/numismatic from the American non-art.
Another in the 9810 is for articles imported for the use of any public library, any other public institution or any nonprofit institution established for the educational, scientific, literary or philosophical purposes for the encouragement of the fine arts. This is used for many of the institutional imports which generally have the higher values.
It isn’t as clear cut and simple as Rick makes it out to be. There are reasons for the discrepancy and probably quite valid ones.
Thank you for that, Mr Tompa.
Rather it brings us back full circle to the cheap lawyer's trick and a chance to throw some mud, especially if, "It isn’t as clear cut and simple as Rick makes it out to be..."
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