Canadian shoppers skating on border duty fees at peak times

WHATCOM COUNTY -- Canadians are crossing the U.S. border in droves to go shopping in Whatcom county.  It's because the strong Canadian dollar enables those shoppers to have more buying power here in the U.S.  The Bellingham Herald reports those shoppers are sometimes saving more than they expected, because the Candian Border Services Agency has told officers to let travelers through he border without charging duty taxes at peak border times.

It's to prevent long lines.  Those peak border times include the long holiday weekends, which are popular times for Canadians to head to the U.S. to go shopping.

The policy is costing the Canadian government.  It's spending millions of dollars in additional overtime pay during peak crossing times, with less duty tax coming in.  Currently the duty-free cap for Canadian shoppers is $200 after being away from Canada 24 hours and $800 after 48 hours.

The Herald reports 6.2 million passengers traveled south into Whatcom County through the five border crossings in the first five months of 2013. That's up 6.4 percent compared to the same period in 2012.

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