OTTAWA - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is raining on the parade of Canadian shoppers flocking across the border for quick shopping jaunts.
Flaherty shot down a request by U.S. Congressman Bill Owens asking him to match U.S. duty exemptions for Americans crossing the border for day trips to shop in Canada.
U.S. citizens who spend up to 48 hours shopping north of the border get their first $200 in purchases tax free.
Responding to the New York State Democrat's April 23 request on Monday, Flaherty thanked Owens for the letter but declined to change the current rules.
"Our government has no plans to create an exemption for day trips under 24 hours as it would disadvantage retailers in border communities and elsewhere in Canada," Flaherty wrote.
In June, Ottawa followed through on a promise to raise exemption rates for Canadian cross-border shoppers from $50 to $200 for trips lasting between 24 and 48 hours, and from $400 to $800 for trips over 48 hours.>
But there was no change on the duty-free allowance for day trips. That remains at zero.
A spokesman for Owens said the lawmaker had no formal response to Flaherty's decision, but hoped it would be worked out at a later date.