Governments have collected customs duties since the beginnings of international trade. It is recorded that Athens applied 20 percent import duties on corn and other goods, while the Romans, from well before the time of Julius Caesar, depended upon customs revenues to support the expansion and maintenance of their empire. And, where a tax must be collected, there will be disputes over rates and methods – the Roman customs collector was accused of “unfair conduct and vexatious proceedings” against the Roman merchants who, in all fairness, were said to have been commonly engaged in smuggling to avoid customs duties.

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