Who would cough up a 77 percent tax just to ship $450,000 in cheap-o “Have a Nice Day” plastic bags? Definitely not China.

An attempt at skirting the anti-dumping tax by an overseas plastic-bag company was intercepted yesterday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

CBP spokesman Jaime Ruiz says the 21 million bags were found hidden in the “nose” of the shipping container and tucked inside a legit shipment of non-infringing, handle-less veggie bags.

“At first, everything seemed fine with the shipment,” he says.

“There are two types of bags: the ones that you get in the grocery area for vegetables and fruits — those clear ones that are rolled up, for cucumbers and all that stuff. But inside those bags, they stuffed the illegal white ones with handles.”

So what happens to the 21 million renegades now?

Ruiz says they'll likely destroyed by an outside contractor, but has no idea how, exactly, that will go down. We'll take a wild guess and say whatever the process, it's not going to make the ozone layer very happy.

“This has nothing to do with the controversy of the plastic bags,” says Ruiz. “We're protecting U.S. companies producing plastic bags … from unfair competition.”

The Chinese company in question is a first-time offender, so it'll get off easy this time with half a million in losses. Next time, though, a federal investigation may be in order.

“They were trying to trick CBP with a legitimate shipment, but inside we found a surprise,” says Ruiz. “That just illustrated the level of how far they're willing to go … but for now, we're hoping they learn their lesson.”

LA Weekly