Horatio Nelson once gave his navy the order ‘England expects each man to do his duty’. In China, they want every man (and woman) to pay duty. In recent weeks the Chinese customs office has been cracking down on goods being brought through Hong Kong to avoid taxes (it’s a bit of a racket: the products are usually then sold online). First to hit the news were on-the-spot taxes for anyone bringing iPads and iPhones across the Lo Wu border. More recently, Australian lobster has made headlines. The delicacy is shipped to Hong Kong and then taken over the border to avoid a 35% duty. However, Aussie fishermen have seen prices collapse in the wake of Chinese customs officers banning the practice, and closing the border to Aussie lobster. According to Australian channel ABC, the portside price of rock lobster in Western Australia has halved, prompting Canberra to lobby Beijing to drop the ban. China accounts for 80% of Australia’s rock lobster exports.
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