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Shopping stateside: new surtax for those going over personal limit

Last Updated Jul 1, 2018 at 7:28 am PST

(Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Cross-border shoppers will have to pay a surtax on newly-tariffed goods if they go over their personal exemptions now

Canada's retaliatory tariffs on US goods have kicked in, meaning it could cost cross-border shoppers more to buy items

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Canadians hoping to dodge potential higher prices on newly-tariffed goods here in Canada, won’t necessarily be avoiding them if they shop in the US.

A surtax will be applied to cross-border shoppers, if they go over their personal exemptions.

The Canada Border Services Agency says goods being taken across the border by shoppers will be subject to a surtax, depending on how long shoppers have been in the US, and how much they have purchased.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade says the extra costs should force shoppers to think twice.

“Residents are going to take a look at how much time [they’re] willing to stand in the border lineup to get gas, to get milk, to get cheese,” says Huberman. “It’s going to be difficult to understand the full impact on Canadian consumers, but Surrey itself has the most number of manufacturers within British Columbia, and we do anticipate that these tariffs could make products more expensive for Canadians, local consumers, manufacturers.”

The new tariffs and surtax will be applied to a wide range of US-products crossing the border, including coffee, nail polish, and mattresses.

“Even items like toilet paper are on the range of products–are there other brand companies that sell toilet paper that can be bought locally?”

She believes many will start to take a second look at where they’ll be spending their money going forward with tariffs in mind.

Huberman says with a number of small and medium-sized manufacturers now possibly dealing with the idea of not being able to swallow the extra expense, they may need to find ways to make up those costs.

“I think it’s always concerning when there are these tariffs wars, and they do need to be mitigated,” she says. “I understand the Canadian government’s action to do so, but it is concerning for local businesses and local consumers.”

It remains to be seen if Canadian retailers will pass on the extra costs to consumers.

Huberman says the SBoT will be keeping a close eye on the trade tiff and how it will continue to impact locals.
With many heading south of the border this Canada Day long weekend, some even looking to pick up a few items while they’re there, Huberman says the timing for the introduction of retaliatory tariffs is unfortunate.

“It is concerning and it does ruin everyone’s plans, but this is serious business that the Canadian government is engaging in. We are trying to protect our relationship with our next door neighbour and just to make sure that we’re able to have some level of negotiation that’s reasonable between our two countries.

“I think residents are going to be penalized in the short-term,” she adds. “The government has chosen to sign things on that tariffs list that are also Canadian domestically-produced alternatives, so that people are not going to be immediately penalized.”