Tag Archives: import

Taxing my drums

I’ve got a Yamaha DTxpress III drum kit. It’s a really nice electronic kit that is great for practicing because you can play the kit wearing headphones, or plug it into an amp if you want to hear the real ‘noise’.

I shipped my kit over from London and during the journey, the computer (or brain), ended up broken. I checked with Yamaha in Brazil and they don’t stock the III computer anymore because the present version of this kit is the IV and the IV computer won’t work with the rest of the kit I have so I scouted around back in the UK for the right computer.

I found a supplier in London who could send me a second-hand computer – £200 for the computer, I bought an extra cymbal for another £40 and then the courier cost was £75.

It’s a pain to shell out so much cash because of a breakage in transit, but I needed the computer for my kit to work again so I paid out and waited for DHL to arrive.

When the courier arrived with my box of equipment, he wanted just under £300 in taxes to be paid, in cash or with a cheque, before he would give me the box. I tried protesting that the taxes are more than the value of the items I bought, but of course the courier couldn’t do a thing – the charges had been applied by the customs people.

I checked with DHL and it turned out I was getting charged a tax for importing electronic products – even though these were second-hand pieces of equipment for my personal use and not to be sold. Unfortunately, there was no way out of the situation.

So now it looks like DHL will send the box all the way back to London, to the company that sent me the equipment. The only saving grace being that they offered to send it on to my parent’s address once it does get back there… leaving me waiting for my drum computer until the next time I visit the UK!

Me playing drums

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We never manufacture things any more…

A common refrain about the state of the world today is the economic emphasis on services rather than manufactured products – the cry that we don’t make ‘stuff’ anymore, we just import it all from low-cost countries and the only jobs are in shops or giving acupuncture to dogs with wealthy owners.

But take a look at the news about British car manufacturing in the Financial Times today. Production of cars and commerical vehicles has jumped to over 1.4m vehicles in 2010 – that’s up 28% on the year before.

But it’s still not like the good old days is it? The Rovers and British Leyland marques that dominated the world?

Well, the absolute peak of vehicle production in the UK was in 1970 when just over 2m units were produced. That’s right, just 2m. Not much more than today is it? And by 1980, car and commercial vehicle production in the UK had slumped to 1.3m units – less than today’s figures.

But they are all foreign brands, none of them are British anymore might seem the next response…

But those companies – like Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW, GM, and Ford – are all employing local British workers to build their vehicles in Britain, so those companies are creating British jobs and investing in the industrial manufacturing heritage of the nation.

Who complains about Santander being one of the dominant high street banks today (and not British)? Or Green & Blacks chocolate being the dominant brand of organic confectionary (and not British)? Or that cup of (Indian) Tetley tea?

The world has certainly changed since the automotive industry was all about local design, local production, and local sales, but it can’t be said that Britain doesn’t build anything these days. Britain is still building and exporting, it’s just not always British brands that are exported from Britain.
Morris Oxford