VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Canadian retailers need help! It appears increased duty-free limits for Canadian shoppers in the US are having a negative impact north of the border.

“What we are seeing and hearing from members, whether they are close to the border or not, is that they are seeing a softening of sales, on the weekends particularly,” Shafiq Jamal, VP Western Canada, Retail Council of Canada explains.

Yesterday, we told you how traffic at the border spiked in June, the same month duty-free limits changed. Jamal says retailers here do not enjoy a level playing field with their US counterparts, and he’s calling on the federal government to address that problem.

“Retailers are wanting to get a competitive and level playing field” he says. “And one of the ways that we think nationally that can be achieved is by the elimination of outdated duties and tariffs, which add almost up to 18 per cent extra in some cases, onto a retailers’ cost.”

Jamal believes some of the old tariffs and duties are “low-hanging fruit” that could be eliminated easily.

“They’re outdated for a reason,” he adds. “They were put in place a long time ago to protect jobs that have since [gone offshore].”

Canada Border Services Agency says it processed more than 580,000 travellers in June at Peace Arch, Pac Highway, Abbotsford, and Aldergrove border crossings, and the airports in Abbotsford and Boundary Bay.

The number represents an 18 per cent increase compared to the same month last year.