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考研英语阅读理解文章29-Anything to declare?

发表于 2017-4-10 07:00:01 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Anything to declare?
Customs officers' powers are excessive, but so is smuggling

RICHARD EVANS, a retired lorry driver, and his family were travelling in Spain last summer when their camper van broke down. They left it to be brought back by the AA. But customs officers at Dover claimed it was being used for smuggling. They seized the vehicle and all its contents, including 9,000 cigarettes and 20 bottles of spirits. The van, worth £20,000 ($30,800), is still impounded. It even took Mr. Evans six months to recover his 90-year-old mother-in-law's wheelchair.

Under European Union regulations, people may import an unlimited quantity of alcohol and tobacco, so long as it is for their own personal use. Had Mr. Evans been driving his van himself, he would probably have had no trouble. Cases like this are putting Customs and Excise's considerable powers under scrutiny. A recent stinging High Court judgment about another vehicle seizure said, "the mindset of those determining these policies has not embraced the world of an internal market where excise goods can move freely across internal frontiers." And, on September 18th, the EU announced that it was giving Britain two months to prove that customs officers were not breaching consumers' rights to shop freely in Europe. "Cross-border shopping...is a fundamental right under EU law and should not be regarded as a form of tax evasion," said Frits Bolkestein, the internal market commissioner.

Customs officers have an impossible job. Excise duty and VAT on a pack of premium brand cigarettes account for 79% of the recommended retail selling price of £4.51. An identical pack costs £1.97 in Belgium. One in every five cigarettes smoked in Britain--some 17 billion altogether--has been smuggled. The Tobacco Manufacturers' Association reckons that 80% of hand-rolling tobacco is smuggled.

The main weapon Customs and Excise has in tackling abuse is to seize cars in which it suspects goods are being smuggled. Guidelines suggest "personal use" can mean only up to 800 cigarettes, for example. Anyone bringing in more can be asked to explain. In the past three years, customs officers have impounded more than 22,000 vehicles. Tellingly, only a fifth of seizures are contested, and fewer than 1% of appeals are successful. Officials say the value of cross-channel smuggling has fallen sharply in the past year, from £1.6 billion to £400m.
Some customs officers, though, have clearly been over-zealous. And the recent High Court case ruled that the legislation under which Customs and Excise operates wrongly reverses the burden of proof. The defendant must prove that he is not bringing in tobacco and so forth for a commercial purpose. It also said that customs officers must have "reasonable grounds" for searches: suspicion and instinct are not enough. The government is appealing.

The minister in charge of Customs and Excise, John Healey, accepts that there is an urgent need to respond to questions about the "legitimacy" of the Customs regime. But he says the charge that Customs are abusing their powers is wrong: "Customs," he says, "never stop at random, they never do blanket searches. They always have some ground for stopping people." Tell that to Mr Evans.
Economist; 9/21/2002, Vol. 364 Issue 8291, p52-53, 2p
注(1):本文选自Economist; 9/21/2002, p52-53, 2p;
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象2004年真题Text 3;

1.How could Richard Evans have avoided such a trouble?
[A]If the camper van didn’t break down on the way.
[B]If the amount of alcohol and tobacco were not too large.
[C]If he carried cigarettes and spirits for personal use.
[D]If he hadn’t asked others to drive the car.

2.How does the EU feel about the behavior of Customs and Excise?

3.How can Customs and Excise check the smuggling effectively?
[A]By doing blanket searches.
[B]By seizing the suspect cars.
[C]By limiting shopping in Europe.
[D]By stopping at random.

4.What is the charge against Customs and Excise?
[A]They are abusing their power.
[B]They deprive Europeans of their right to a free shop.
[C]They seize the car for no good reason.
[D]Their power is too excessive.

5.By “Tell that to Mr Evans.”(Last Line, Paragraph 6), the author means _____________.
[A]Evans should learn a lesson from his experience
[B]what John Healey has said is good for Evans
[C]he does not believe what John Healey has said
[D]Evans should understand what he has experienced


AA=Automodile Association of Great Britain汽车协会
impound vt.关在栏中, 拘留, 扣押, 没收
scrutiny n.详细审查
seizure n.抓, 捉, 没收, 查封, 夺取
breach vt.打破, 突破
evasion n.逃避, 借口
VAT=Value-Added Tax 增值税, 附加价值税;
premium adj 质优价高的;质量或价值极高的:
reverse vt颠倒,倒转;撤消或废除(法令等)
burden of proof n.提供证据之责任
defendant n.被告
legitimacy n.合法(性), 正统(性), 正确(性), 合理(性)
at random adv.胡乱地, 随便地

A recent stinging High Court judgment about another vehicle seizure said, "the mindset of those determining these policies has not embraced the world of an internal market where excise goods can move freely across internal frontiers."
主体句式:a judgment said …
结构分析:本句是一个简单句,关键是理解其中一些词汇的含义。“stinging”在此句的含义是“棘手的”;在引用的话中,“mindset”的意思是“思想倾向”,“determining these policies”之前省去了“who are”,这就变成了现在分词做后置定语来修饰“those”;“embrace”的意思是“接受”;“where”引导定语从句来修饰“internal market”。


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