Cross-border shopping on the rise

Despite dollar parity, it still pays to head south for cheaper retail prices

Since the duty free exemptions were raised earlier this summer, more and more Canadians are shopping across the border, the Vancouver Sun reports. Statistics Canada shows that overnight travel to the U.S has grown to record numbers.

On June 1st, the duty-free limit increased to $200 from $50 on stays longer than 24 hours and to $800 from $400 for stays longer than 48 hours. A high Canadian dollar and a struggling American economy means that Canadians are keen to take advantage of cheaper prices across the border.

Despite the loonie and the greenback being roughly at parity, Canadians pay, on average, 14 per cent more for the same goods as Americans.

Businesses in Bellingham, WA, say they have noticed a steady increase in Canadian customers since 2010, and some residents have even called for “American only” shopping hours at the local Costco.

While the number of same-day visits has also increased, they have not yet returned to their pre-9/11 levels, when people did not require enhanced identification to cross the border.

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