Cross-border shoppers cheer new duty-free limits

New rules on duty-free limits kick in today for Canadians who return with merchandise from trips to the United States.

On return from an overnight trip across the border, Canadians are now allowed to bring $200 word of goods, up from $50. Those who spend two to seven days in the States may declare $800, rather than $400. And those gone longer can spend $800.

The changes were announced in Jim Flaherty’s spring budget.

Stephen Fine, founder of online shopping resource, told the Canadian Press that while consumers will cheer the new rules, Canadians are still barred from bringing back any duty-free goods purchased on a same-day excursion to the U.S.

“There’s been a lot of disappointment about that from our audience because the majority of cross-border shoppers are same-day shoppers,” Fine told CP, adding trips of less than 24 hours make up about half of all visits to the U.S.

Customs officials say they don’t anticipate a stampede across the border.

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