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#3488: Solving Customs Problems (fwd)

From: Lance Durban <lpdurban@yahoo.com>

Unfortunately, the 'problems' in Haitian customs are pretty
serious.  You have two choices:

1.  Pay the required bribe money after negotiating it down
    as far as you can.   ADVANTAGE:  You get your books 
    quickly.  DISADVANTAGE:  You will then be seen as an 
    easy mark and find that there are always 'problems'
    that somehow can only be resolved with a bribe.  
    Secondly, it is illegal for U.S. companies to bribe
    foreign officials, although there is a fuzzy area
    (I am told) about very small gratuities paid 
    (theoretically) for the extra, overtime, special,
    extraordinary, work done on your behalf by a certain

2.  Refuse to pay any bribe, and be ready to jump through
    countless hoops... always with a smile on your face.
    You can either do it yourself, or hire a broker to 
    do it.  If you are new to the game... and it is a 
    game... you will have to jump through far more hoops
    than if you have been playing awhile.  One year IS 
    a long time, and I suspect you just haven't been 
    jumping enough.  I mean countless fruitless trips  
    to various gov't departments and ministries for
    signatures of people who are never there, etc, etc.    

One thing NOT to do is to accuse someone of looking for a
bribe... even if you do it with a smile on your face.  The
result will be a look of incredulity... What, me?  Do a
thing like that?  Don't you realize I am a Professional
Customs Inspector?  Heck, the guy can be so convincing he
will almost convince YOU that he has never pocketed a
dishonest dime in his life.  The problem thus caused,
however, will ricochet back on you... It forestalls or at
least complicates the possibility of taking option 1
above... after having been accused of looking for a bribe
how can the poor guy actually take the bribe.... even he
has some self-respect after all.   That leaves you with
option 2... but suddenly you will find that the number of
hoops has increased geometrically...  

Obviously, it would be nice to have a simplified,
expedited, and honest system of customs clearance in Haiti.
It's just one minor thing that the Government of Haiti
could do to encourage investment.  Will it happen?  My
guess is those school library books will be long out of
print before it does. 

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