Further on India shipping (on topic)

From: John Lawson <jpl15_at_panix.com>
Date: Thu Oct 14 15:07:15 2004

   In 2000 we bought an SGI Onyx on eBay, for about $2K - from a reseller,
checked out, warranted, with doc and OS... all Ok. Had it crated and
shipped air-freight.

   First thing Customs wanted was "Chartered Engineer's Certificate" on the
thing, then the original (not copies!) invoices and sales orders for the
machine and the various software packages.

   Now: the US does not have "Chartered Engineers" - this is a European
position, and roughly equates with a certified technical appraiser. I
managed to get hold of a report from a chartered engineer in Germany (for
a piston-ring grinding machine) and doctored it up, then sent it to my
freind in the US who is an appraiser... who sent it back. No signatures,
nothing really official, but still Customs insisted on it.

  We told them that the machine was used and had been refurbished, and that
finding the original sales invoices was impossible. They then spent a
month 'researching' it - and got back to us with the inofrmation that they
found that similarly-configured machines had sold new for about $345,000.
So they happily informed us that the duties would be 70% of new cost.
Ya'll can do the Math....

  It took six months of back-and-forth negotiations, recriminations,
calling in favors, bribes, etc... the unit was finally valued at $14,000
and they said we could pay 70% of that or they'd seize the machine for
non-payment and scrap it, and charge us for the storage and paperwork

   So we ended up paying $11,800 plus shipping for an already-old Onyx.

   This goes on every day there - one of the reasons that there is very
little electronic 'surplus' or flea-markets - everyone simply fixes and
maintains whatever they have for the longest possible time, rather than
pay the price on new gear which includes the awful duties.

   This was originally instituted by the Indian Government in the late 40's
- early 50's as a way to stimulate the infrastructure to produce and be
competitive, but of course you know who *that* turned out..


Received on Thu Oct 14 2004 - 15:07:15 BST

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