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Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce finding ways to boost the economy

ABBOTSFORD (NEWS1130) – How can we convince more Americans to shop up here?

The Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce is voicing its support for an idea being brought back by the Frontier Duty Free Association.

The chamber would like to see the GST rebate brought back.

“Well the idea is that what the visitors would be able to do is on their way returning to the US, they would be able to stop at the duty-free stores at the border crossings, and get a rebate of the GST that they have spent while here in Canada,” says Executive Director, Allan Asaph.

The chamber has written to the federal finance minister, hoping a pilot project will be considered.

“Like any program like this, it really has to be evaluated on an ongoing basis as to whether or not it actually is providing the type of incentive that it was designed to do,” Asaph says.

He adds a research group has found spending by visitors could end up offsetting losses in tax revenue.

“They looked at the potential increase to the revenue, could be 89.6 million dollars with the equivalent of 13-hundred full-time jobs just as a result of the programs such as this. And so, worst case scenario, it could very easily be break even, but what we certainly feel is that this would be a positive incentive, and could actually cause an increase to revenue.”

If the pilot project went well, it could become permanent, and perhaps even expanded to include people moving through airports.