Tax officials investigating import of cattle and meat to BIH

Newspaper reports that tax officials will crack down on importers trying to pay less in import taxes by artificially lowering the value of the products they are bringing in.

The tax administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina has begun investigating irregularities in the import of cattle and meat to BiH, Bogdan Novaković, assistant to director of UIO for customs told Nezavisne Novine. According to the newspaper, meat imported from Argentina that came through Ploče is being checked, as well as live cattle imported from Romania, Poland and Hungary. The cattle come into BiH through border crossings at Gradiška and Izačić and then the customs checkpoint in Grude.

Novaković said most importers are claiming to bring in only the lowest grade of meats, which means they pay less in duties.“Meat from Argentina was imported as frozen beef, which veterinarian inspectors certfy as meat from head and intestines,” he told the newspaper.

Tax officials suspect that the value of live cattle coming through Ploče may also be artificially low.

As part of “Danger on Your Plate,” a project on food safety published the middle of last month, CIN did a story about cattle smuggling. CIN journalists including information from BiH officials that between 2003 and mid-2006, the State Border Service seized some 2,000 heads of smuggled cattle.

During 2005, some 91,000 heads of cattle was imported legally. The most lucrative areas for smuggling are the BiH border with Croatia around Imotski, where there are many paths and trails, and along the Drina River on the border with Serbia.