TORONTO, June 1, 2012 /CNW/ - Retail Council of Canada (RCC) together
with four border community Chambers of Commerce are asking for the
federal government to level the playing field for Canadian retailers,
starting with the elimination of import tariffs (taxes) on finished
"Start with what can be changed immediately and eliminate import
tariffs," is the message to Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty from
RCC and the Chambers of Commerce of Surrey (BC), Winnipeg (MB), Altona
(MB), Niagara Falls (ON), and Fredericton (NB).
"The government's decision to increase duty exemptions on goods bought
in the U.S. is salt in the wounds of retailers in border communities,"
said Diane J. Brisebois, RCC's President and CEO. "They already face
too many obstacles to competition, such as import duties, as high as 18
per cent on sports equipment. Now Canadians are being offered yet
another incentive to cross border shop."
"Many retailers in border communities are struggling just to stay in
business," said Carolyn Bones, President of the Niagara Falls Chamber
of Commerce. "The federal government needs to act immediately to remove
barriers to competition, so that Canadians want to shop and keep their
tax dollars here in Canada."
Tariffs on many finished goods - including clothing, hockey equipment
and skates, sporting equipment and footwear and linens - are paid by
the retailer to the Canadian government. Historically, these tariffs
were put in place to protect Canadian manufacturers. However, very few
of these products are manufactured in Canada anymore.
RCC recently made a submission to the Senate Committee studying the
reasons for price discrepancies between Canada and the United States.
RCC presented several facts that contribute to the discrepancy:
Merchants selling food items are particularly hard hit because staples
such as eggs, cheese and milk are often significantly cheaper in the
U.S. Canada takes a different approach to subsidizing farmers and this
artificially increases prices on those items. Even with the dollar near parity, retailers pay more in Canada.
Retailers in Canada must purchase branded products through Canadian
subsidiaries of multi-national manufacturers (many of which are based
in the U.S.). They cannot buy those products directly from the
manufacturer in the U.S. Prices charged to retailers in Canada for
such items as tires, health and beauty care products, running shoes,
jeans, small appliances and electronics are often 30 per cent higher
than what these manufacturers charge U.S. retailers. And these
distributors rarely pass on the savings from a strong Canadian dollar. Even with the dollar near parity, retailers pay more in Canada.
And if a retailer wants to import products that are not sold through
distributors in Canada, higher import tariffs are applied. Even with the dollar near parity, retailers pay more in Canada.
Brisebois urged the committee to compel multi-national manufacturers and
their Canadian subsidiaries to appear before the Senators to explain
why retailers in Canada still pay more than their American counterparts
for the same goods. Retailers, who value their customers, also asked
the Senate to set the record straight to ensure consumers understood
why some products were priced higher in Canada.
RCC and the Chambers of Commerce agree: "What retailers in Canada want
is a level playing field to compete with their US counterparts so that
they can bring the best products at the best value to Canadian
Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit
association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail
formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional
and national specialty chains, and online merchants.
SOURCE Retail Council of Canada
For further information:
VP, Communications and Marketing, RCC
416 922-9700 ext. 228
416 574-2552 (Mobile)