Shoppers line up to cross into the U.S. at Blaine

Retailers eye more tariff cuts to fight cross-border shopping

Baby clothes, sports gear a test to see if savings trickle down to consumers

Retailers are optimistic they can persuade the federal government to go further in eliminating import tariffs on many products, reducing the lure of cross-border shopping for consumers.

Retail Council of Canada vice-president Karen Proud said the retail industry is pleased Ottawa agreed in the March federal budget to cut all tariffs on sports gear and baby clothes, giving consumers a $76-million break.

But she said there’s apprehension other tariffs are going up three per cent on many products from countries like China and India, because Ottawa has bumped those nations back to a less preferential tariff rate.

That’s expected to drive prices up in many product categories, while the government collects an extra $330 million.

Worse, the change for China affects imports from other countries, like Bangladesh, which enjoys no tariff on exports to Canada because it’s underdeveloped.

Proud said a Bangladeshi clothing manufacturer that uses some material from China would no longer qualify for the zero tariff and would suddenly be charged 18 per cent.

“We’re working with the government now to identify where we still have concerns,” Proud said.

The aim now is to prove that eliminating tariffs on baby clothes and sports equipment, which were charged 2.5 to 18 per cent depending on the product, will work to help reduce cross-border shopping without a major impact to Canadian producers.

If it can be demonstrated that most of the savings of the tariff cut actually trickles down to consumers in the form of lower prices – and isn’t just carved off by either suppliers or retailers – the Retail Council of Canada will push for tariffs to drop on other product categories next year.

“Footwear is definitely right at the top of our list,” Proud said. “It’s kind of the poster child example for cross-border shopping.”

Because there are virtually no Canadian shoe manufacturers left, she said it “begs the question” of why there’s any tariff at all.

She cautioned shoppers shouldn’t expect to see all of a tariff cut flow through to them.

“Retailers have been taking a loss just trying to compete,” she said.

U.S. retailers typically pay much lower to no import tariffs on much of what they sell compared to Canadian outlets, accounting for part of the differential in prices across the border.

Just Posted

Proper engagement needed for quarry development: expert

Impact on residents, species should be communicated, evaluated

Wildlife centre operator concerned about leg-hold traps

Elizabeth Melnick of Abbotsford says contraptions are injuring innocent animals

Upper Fraser Valley RCMP members named to Alexa’s Team

Team honours officers working to keep drunk drivers off the roads, in honour of girl killed in 2008

Festival society releases full lineup for 40th Harrison Festival of the Arts

Legendary singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie and rock band Chilliwack among performers at 2018 festival

Semi-rollover closes traffic on Highway 1

Vehicle incident east of No. 3 road has shut down highway in both directions

Residents mobilize to halt quarry development

News that an application was sent to the province proposing a construction… Continue reading

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Video: RCMP investigation gets a deer little photobomb

Princeton RCMP were conducting a drug investigation in Princeton which a deer strolled through

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Cops corral pig on the loose on Vancouver Island

Police “put the grab” on pig before it can cross the highway on Vancouver Island

Most Read