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Published 6th August 2006, 4:15pm

Now that Italy has won the World Cup title, Cayman residents may want to send celebratory packages to family or friends who live in the football championship country.

However, before sending packages to Italy, residents should be aware that there is a backlog of parcels and Express Mail Service (EMS) items there due to new customs requirements, Italian postal administration officials say.

"In accordance with new much more stringent rules imposed by customs authorities around 15 per cent of items are being retained and submitted to very strict customs inspections," a Universal Postal Union notice stated.

The new requirements are partly due to customs authorities discovering changes in mail traffic showing an increase in the volume of goods relating to commercial transactions (mainly purchased over the Internet) for which customs clearance procedures are not possible.

Additionally, the Italian authorities noted that they have noticed an increase in the number of false declarations concerning the nature and value of contents. They say that there is a significant increase in counterfeit brands and merchandise subject to sanitary controls and in the volume of prohibited items and goods requiring special import licences (such as food products, anabolic steroids, vitamins, mineral supplements and medicines).

Cayman residents interested in sending packages to Italy should be aware of the new customs rules and fill out forms correctly, honestly and include all documents. In addition, senders are required to fill out the CN 23 forms for parcels, use only English, French or Italian for names of senders and addresses and use only roman script.