To the Editor,
Would you please print this reply from MP Mark Strahl re: my letter on cross-border duties and travelers’ exemptions?
Thank you for your letter regarding the increase in the travelers’ exemption.
Canadians’ standard of living and future prosperity depend on growing trade and investment. Harmonizing travelers exemption rules with the United States will streamline the processing of returning Canadians who have made relatively small purchases while outside of Canada and refocus border security on drugs, guns and contraband. This measure, while facilitating cross-border travel, will reduce federal revenues by $13 million in 2012-13.
By comparison, in a typical year, two-way trade with our most important partner the United States amounts to $500 billion. The most conservative estimates suggest that inefficiencies at the Canada-US border impose a direct cost on the Canadian economy of one per cent of GDP, or $16 billion a year. Even a modest improvement in border efficiency will result in significant and lasting economic gains far greater than the lost revenue from higher travelers’ exemptions.
It is important to note that changes to the traveler exemption rules apply only for overnight stays. The increase in the value of goods that may be imported duty-and-tax-free by Canadian residents returning from abroad are $200 after a 24-hour absence and $800 after a 48-hour absence.
I trust this answers your concerns. Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me. Once again, thank you for your email.
Mark Strahl, MP