News story

Historic arrangement signed to tackle international smuggling

An historic arrangement has been signed to tackle international smuggling and the organised criminal groups who operate in direct contravention of customs laws.

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The UK will work closer with China sharing information in the fight against this fraud.

The arrangement establishes a new mechanism for closer working between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and General Administration of Chinese Customs (GACC) including regular information sharing in the fight against Customs fraud, particularly non-duty paid tobacco products smuggled by organised criminals into the UK.

China is a key UK partner in our global efforts to tackle the criminality that threatens both of our countries. HMRC’s and GACC’s strengthened co-operation is vital to combating the threat posed by organised criminal gangs. This bilateral arrangement follows Chancellor Osborne’s visit to China last month, where he said it was the Government’s intention for the UK to become China’s “best partner in the west”.

Vicky Ranson, HMRC, Director of Risk and Intelligence Service:

Tobacco fraud costs the UK Government around £2bn a year in lost revenue – money that could be used on vital public services. Through this new arrangement our governments can share important information more regularly and easily, to better help jointly identify and target organised criminal gangs producing counterfeit tobacco products and illicitly distributing these throughout the UK. This undermines legitimate businesses and we are determined to clampdown on it.

Published 22 October 2015