Re­tailer fears duty-free goods in­crease

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS -

VAN­COU­VER — The CEO of Harry Rosen Inc. says it would be a catas­tro­phe for Cana­dian re­tail­ers if Ot­tawa gave in to U.S. de­mands to raise the value of goods Amer­i­can stores can send to Canada tax and duty free.

The U.S. is call­ing for the so-called de min­imis thresh­old to be in­creased from C$20 to a “value com­pa­ra­ble” to its US$800 limit. The re­quest is one of the Amer­i­can ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ob­jec­tives for the rene­go­ti­a­tion of the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment.

Larry Rosen says it would cre­ate a huge dis­ad­van­tage for Cana­dian re­tail­ers, who must charge taxes and whose goods would become com­par­a­tively more ex­pen­sive as a re­sult.

He says it would be a boon for U.S. border towns, like Buf­falo, as Cana­dian re­tail­ers in­clud­ing Harry Rosen would move a chunk of their busi­nesses, like ware­houses, south of the border.

Canada’s de min­imis thresh­old has re­mained the same since 1985, but is a hotly de­bate topic with some lob­by­ing gov­ern­ment to in­crease the fig­ure, while oth­ers staunchly op­pose a change.

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