Return Of The Booze Cruise – I Think Not

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Hymie | 21:48 Thu 30th Mar 2017 | Travel
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According to this daily telegraph article, the ferry industry will reap the benefits of duty free being reintroduced once we leave the EU.

I normally take a booze cruise to France twice a year; not considering my transport costs, I reckon I save around £400 on the wine I buy each trip.

Once we leave the EU, I will no longer be able to bring back a virtually unlimited amount of wine – but I will be able to buy 4 litres of duty free wine (at inflated duty free prices), which I would estimate would save me absolutely nothing.

If I were the boss of a ferry company, I would be very worried that come the day we formally leave the EU, the number taking a day trip to the continent will drop from whatever it is today, to virtually zero overnight.


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'The British Chamber of Shipping, which represents cross-Channel ferry operators, said that duty free will be "automatically" introduced'

Followed, almost immediately by:

'Ministers “will carefully consider” reintroducing duty free shopping'

About as clear as our Ts&Cs of leaving the EU.
The duty paid on booze brought into the UK is entirely a matter for the UK customs and excise and nothing to do with the EU, it is, and always has been.
“The duty paid on booze brought into the UK is entirely a matter for the UK customs and excise and nothing to do with the EU, it is, and always has been.”

That’s not quite correct, Khandro. Before 1st July 1999 a “Duty Free” allowance was permitted for travellers entering the UK from another EU country (in the same way as it was – and still is - allowed for travellers from the rest of the world). Goods liable to Excise duty over and above that allowance would have to be declared at the UK border and the appropriate duty paid. After that date the “duty free” allowance was abolished for travellers arriving from other EU nations but so was the obligation to declare any goods liable to Excise duty. Travellers arriving from other EU countries can bring in any amount of goods without paying any duty provided they are for their own personal use. (In practice HMRC have declared arbitrary limits above which the onus rests with the traveller to demonstrate that the goods are for their own use).

HMRC have no say in this as it is an EU Directive. Hence the duty paid on these goods brought into the UK (i.e. Nil) has everything to do with the EU.

Post Brexit the UK should rightly reimpose excise charges on goods from the EU (with an appropriate "Duty Free" allowance) to bring those imports in line with those from the rest of the world. Whether it will, or whether the matter will form part of the "deal" to be negotiated, we shall have to wait and see.

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