Mission retailers worry about new duty-free limits

The duty-free limit for visits to the U.S. longer than 24 hours has risen from $50 to $200

Local retailers are anticipating even more business lost due to cross-border shopping after duty-free rules changes June 1.

The duty-free limit for visits to the U.S. longer than 24 hours rose from $50 to $200. Stays 48 hours or longer will qualify for $800 in duty-free purchases, up from $400 previously for visits up to a week.

According to Mission’s Carlo Billinger, it’s impossible for Canadian retailers to compete with Americans on pricing.

“It’s an unfair playing field,” said the co-owner of Rex Cox Men’s Wear. “I can’t give those prices.”

Lower U.S. wages, combined with import duties ramp up the cost of goods in Canada.

“It’s very short-term thinking on some people’s parts to run across the border” for a few hours to pick up items, he said.

Most distressing to Billinger are stories he’s heard of many returning Canadians not being asked to pay the HST even when they declare their purchases, which equates to lost tax dollars.

Billinger says he’s spoken to managers from several different industries and they’re all suffering.

Bank of Montreal economist Douglas Porter warned in a report issued this month the drain of Canadian shoppers heading south is weighing heavily on retail sales here.

He said official estimates that cross-border shopping accounts for less than two per cent of consumer spending likely “vastly understate” the size of the problem.

Porter suggested cross-border spending may actually account for eight to 10 per cent of goods that can flow across the border, since half of all consumer spending goes to rent and other captive services.

Porter compared various goods and found they currently cost 14 per cent more on average here than in the U.S., before taxes and adjusted for exchange.

That’s down from a 20 per cent differential a year ago, due to a slightly softer Canadian dollar.

For some products Porter surveyed there’s virtually no price difference, while others can cost more than 30 per cent extra on this side of the border.

– with files from Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO, PHOTOS: Family Day in Mission

Residents flocked to the Mission Leisure Centre to enjoy free, family-friendly activities

Slippery road conditions plague Mission drivers

Tuesday mornings snowfall is creating a challenge for motorists

Snowfall warning: 5-10 cm expected in Lower Mainland

The snowfall will start Tuesday and carry on into the evening, before tapering off Wednesday

Manager of Mission MP’s constituency office hoping to run in Abbotsford

Seamus Heffernan – and Paljeet Singh – seeking party’s nomination to run against Conservative Ed Fast

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

New trial ordered over banning whales, dolphins at Vancouver aquarium

Park board’s appeal reverses previous decision that found it had no right to implement a ban

Most Read