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But from Doug Porter, BMO, Canada/U.S. Price Gap & Cross-Border Shopping:

""And you thought the line-ups to get into the United States were
long before. A culmination of factors is likely to lead to a notable
upswing of Canadians cross-border shopping this summer, in
numbers not seen in two decades. There are already more than 50
million visits to the U.S. by Canadian residents annually (or about
1.5 a year for every man, woman and child).""

This policy - part of what Coyne called the emerging economic agenda of the government - is designed to force greater competition in the Cdn retail sector, which has been notoriously higher priced than equivalewncies in the US retail sector.

If the GoC implements the 2008 Compete to Win Report and end protection of telecom (that gives us the highest mobile fees in the world), airlines (50% higher on average than US per Globe cover story a month ago), we may find that the dreaded productivity gap of now 30% will start to diminish.

Which I believe is the "secret, deeply hidden Harper agenda".

While there may indeed be a competition agenda, the increase in the limits for Canada was in part a response to US pressure. I suppose the Americans recognize good retail growth potential when they see it - and Canadians have been crossing the border for years to shop. The Americans have higher limits for their returning citizens but their citizens do not venture across the Can-US border in the same numbers that ours do as either tourists or shoppers.

Livio, is there data on near-border US stores shipping into Canada for Canadian customers, to spare them the travel hassle? I know that stores like Menard's and Lowe's now ship building products directly into places like Lethbridge or Winnipeg, so that customers pay for a very low shipping but get drywall, patio materials, etc., at vastly lower prices than at Canadian-located retailers.

Shangwen: I've heard of similar practices but I'm not aware of any data.

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