Smuggled good soars $20bn

TEHRAN, Sep 28 (MNA) – Official figures indicate that only a fraction of smuggled goods into Iran is confiscated by officials, with the lion’s share re-channeled into consumer market.

Ghasem Khorshidi, Spokesperson of Iran’s Central Task Force to Combat the Smuggling of Commodities and Currency told an IRIB program Special News Talk show on Tuesday night that distribution of the smuggled goods had been illegal, despite the fact that it had been carried out in broad daylight in the market; “the Task Force has been focused on the incoming bottlenecks of the smuggled goods, and only 1 per cent of cases, we investigate the goods in distribution sector; in the second and third quarters of 2016, the discovered smuggled goods amounted to $20bn, with ludicrously low $20mn discovered in distribution sector,” he detailed.

“$15bn of smuggled goods had crossed the borders and in broad daylight, wide distribution networks provide the public with this amount; the distribution as a whole is flawed nationwide, and requires systematic monitoring and regulation,” Khorshidi told the IRIB program. “Last year (ending March 21, 2015) only 10 per cent of the smuggled goods was discovered. This figure for the current year was 25 per cent so far; the law permits authorities to confiscate whole packages, fines soaring to drastic amounts of four-fold of the initial price of goods, and in the case of high-end products with higher prices, the state would seize the goods to make into its property.”

In a related story, Ali Fazeli, Head of Iran’s Chamber of Guilds told reporters that smuggled goods had taken its toll on national economy as a challenge to domestic production; “the Guild’s laws proscribes sale of smuggled goods in its member unions; a total of 750,000 small shops and guild members are active sans permits; these small distribution centers are excellent safe havens for the smuggled goods to evade the prosecution by the authorities,” he told the press, suggesting that the incoming bottlenecks should receive serious attention for an effective fight against the smuggling.”

Fazeli also shared the view that commodity distribution network was flawed and unhealthy; “the government should organize the guilds anew; however, the cyberspace abounds with the advertisements of smuggled goods coming from gateways in the borders; rarely would a certificated website advertise smuggled goods, and the Chamber of Guilds would not held responsible for that; smuggling damages national production and retards development of a robust economy; it remains still quite an issue of further and serious examination,” he emphasized.

“The lawsuits filed in courts have a 27-per cent rise; the majority of crime committed in sale and marketing of smuggled goods have been committed by unlicensed small guilds, which receive and provide the public the underground undiscovered part of the goods,” he concluded.

SH/3781263

News Code 120108

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