Five Charged for China-U.S. Honey Smuggling

Five people have been charged in the U.S. for smuggling honey from China to evade $180 million in anti-dumping duties. The investigation that snared them was part of a years-long campaign to protect both beekeepers and honey consumers in America. Phil Mattingly at Bloomberg News: The charges from the probe, called “Project Honeygate,” mark the culmination of a two-part investigation that began in 2008 and included U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. attorney’s office in the northern district of Illinois. In the first phase, federal authorities charged 14 individuals for allegedly evading about $80 million in anti-dumping duties. The latest phase of the investigation included an undercover agent, who took a role as director of procurement with a cooperating honey supplier. The resulting investigation led to two of the nation’s largest honey suppliers — Honey Holding and Groeb Farms Inc. — entering into deferred prosecution agreements with the government and paying $1 million and $2 million in fines, respectively. […] U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat who has pushed federal officials to crack down on counterfeit honey imports, said the “successful sting operation is sure to be a buzz kill for would-be honey smugglers.” “We need a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to honey laundering,” Schumer said in a statement. The Associated Press’ Alexa Olesen examined the debate over anti-dumping tariffs and problems associated with honey smuggling in 2010 (via Tom Hancock): Honey-laundering is just one of many unsavory practices that have besmirched China’s vast honey industry and raised complaints from competing American beekeepers. China produces more honey than anywhere else in the world, about 300,000 metric tons (660 million pounds) a year or about 25 percent of the global total. But stocks are tainted with a potentially dangerous antibiotic and cheaper honeys are increasingly getting ...
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