A Flimsy Case Against Duty Free

Banning duty-free shopping, a happy perk of international travel, is an odd gambit by Europe's finance ministers. When the European Union became a single market in 1992, the revenue-hungry officials voted unanimously to stop consumers from escaping taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and luxury goods at airports and on boats. They claim that duty-free outlets give their owners an unfair advantage over domestic retailers charging national tax rates--as high as 89% in Scandinavia. But their real agenda is to fatten their state budgets.

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