Gibraltar Customs checks at the frontier inadequate – Chamber survey

The Chamber of Commerce has published the top line results of a recent survey into Gibraltar Customs checks on private vehicles entering Gibraltar.

The survey was conducted at specific times over three days in early November and was aimed at recording how many cars entering the green channel were challenged by Customs on whether they had goods to declare.

The findings confirm two things in particular: that despite the economic downturn and the continued weakness of sterling against the euro, many locals continue to shop in Spain as is their choice and their right. This consolidates the findings of the Economic Impact study published by the Chamber last year and shows how Gibraltar shoppers continue to provide an important economic boost to retail businesses in the Campo and beyond.

The second and more relevant point though is that the inspection levels by Customs officers on cars entering the green channel are startlingly low.  Over the three days of the sampling, a total of 1,238 Gibraltar-registered cars entered through the Green channel. Customs officers challenged and checked a total of just 27 Gibraltar-registered vehicles or just over 2 per cent. It is not known how much import duty was collected from these cars.

For Chamber members and indeed all local traders who import goods and pay the relevant duty, such a low inspection regime would appear to be a great enticement for people not to declare any purchases made in Spain as they know they are unlikely to be challenged. It also begs the question whether enough is being done by Customs to curb illegal substances being brought into Gibraltar through the frontier.

In the lead up to the busy Christmas period the Chamber implores Customs to be far more systematic and thorough in its inspection regime. Where people choose to spend their money is their choice.   However it is for Customs to ensure that import duty is levied on all relevant personal imports. It can only do this by having a more robust and systematic inspection regime.

Gib-regIstered cars No of cars checked
Saturday (5pm – 9pm) 704 18
Monday* 270 3
Wednesday* 264 6
Total 1238 27

*  Data collection on Monday and Wednesday was during  three periods:  9am-10am, 12noon -1pm and  6pm-7pm.