A company that claimed it had been unfairly subjected to anti-dumping duty on consignments of screws, washers and bolts imported from Malaysia has won the sympathy of the First-Tier Tribunal – but will still have to pay more than £80,000.
There was no dispute that the company had ordered the goods before the European Commission had announced that it was considering imposing the duty on iron and steel fasteners consigned from Malaysia. However, the goods were delivered after such an announcement was publicised and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) insisted that the duty was therefore payable.
The company argued that it had been innocently caught by European legislation the passage of which it could not have anticipated. Whilst not doubting the legal validity of HMRC’s stance, the company challenged the reasonableness of it and submitted that the resulting charge was wholly disproportionate.
Noting that, had the deliveries not been delayed by about a month, the consignments would have arrived before the Commission’s announcement, the Tribunal found that the company had at all times acted in good faith and expressed a ‘great deal of sympathy’ for the position in which it found itself.
However, in dismissing the appeal, the Tribunal upheld HMRC’s arguments that the relevant duty point was the date of importation and that the fact that the goods were ordered earlier could not change the position. The law on the incidence of anti-dumping duty was clear and neither HMRC, nor the Tribunal, had any discretion to waive the effect of the mandatory European provisions.
John Parker & Sons Limited v The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Case Number: TC02869