An important case has been proceeding
through the English Courts.
This concerns the new security and
joint and several liability provisions targeting the mobile telephone
and computer chip markets, where substantial fraud has been taking
The case was brought by the Federation
of Technological Industries, and 53 of its members. It seems FTI was
established simply to oppose these new rules. Its website
www.fti.org.uk - speaks of little else.
They have appointed Andrew Young as their leading Counsel.
It is interesting to read various
public comments, by C&E, and by FTI, which indicate the large
disagreement between the parties over the issues. I have to say that
Customsí pronouncements have been selective and partisan.
The key issue, argued before the Court
of Appeal in July, was whether C&E can make provisions that make a
person other the person liable for the tax to be jointly and severally
liable for VAT (EEC 6th VAT Directive, art 21.3). Such provisions have
existed in relation to formal Representatives for persons established
in a different Member State.
C&E argued strongly that the provision
was clear, and that the matter should not be referred to the European
Court, and thereby further delay their fight against fraud. FTI argued
that the power under art 21.3 was not so clear cut. The Court held, by
2 to 1, that the case should be referred.
At the moment, the volume of business
in mobile telephones and computer chips is not large (in the wholesale
sector), which is a symptom of the effectiveness of Customsí work in
(C&E Comrs v Federation of
Technological Industries & 53 others, ECWA Civ 1020)