Will Duty Free return between UK and Europe after March 2019?

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  alainboy56 25 May 2018
at 06:51

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 19 total)

  • Tom Otley

    Interesting point (which I hadn’t considered before).

    Discussed on the industry websites such as DFNI


    Post-Brexit duty-free not affected by customs union dispute

    Seems clear that duty-free between the UK and the EU will not come into effect in March 2019 because

    “The transition agreement, which has been reached between the UK and the EU, is very clear and it states that for the application of EU law, the UK shall be treated as an EU member state for the duration of the transition period. Should there be an agreement, the transition will last from March of next year until December of the following year [2020],”

    DFNI understands that the possible return of duty-free will be a part of the framework agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, which is currently scheduled to be agreed, meaning the next four to five months are vital for the industry’s lobbying efforts.

    I’d have thought that the industry would want duty free to return, since that would increase sales since prices would drop for consumers on these products, but on the other hand, if fewer people are flying between the UK and Europe (unlikely, I admit) then there’s less fottfall though the airports…


    No, it will not, IMHO. I believe there will be a political deal on the customs union and this will keep present harmonised taxes in place.


    And the re-introduction of a maximum of 200 cigarettes and 1 litre of booze? Another great benefit of Brexit?


    I hope not. If I never have to walk through another stinking noisy ‘duty free’ maze behind dawdling people sniffing and peering at overpriced tat again it’s too soon.

    The primary purpose of airports appears to have shifted from passenger transport and service, to being massive sales outlets with pushers of various products delaying you on your way to board your flight.

    If ‘duty free’ does continue to exist, and I fervently hope it won’t, purchase or delivery should be on arrival, so that airlines don’t have to carry millions of tons annually across the world and back again.


    As I do not recall in recent years flying specifically from UK to Norway or Switzerland (many times from elsewhere), but are there Duty Free allowances to/from those 2 countries? if not, as I suspect, then it will be the same arrangement I guess.

    Whilst we are on the subject of Brexit, and may I suggest in particular, hard borders between EU and UK – why are UK politicians so inept and incompetent?
    Have any of you very experience travelers out there, driven from Geneva to Evian, leaving the airport by the Swiss gate, driving through the lovely city, around the shores of Lake Geneva and on through Thonon to Evian. Is there a hard border between Switzerland and France? Yes, but is it manned? No. When they want to make random checks, they activate the gates and make you stop, but 99% of the time they are freely open. This also applies when one drives from Evian further around the lake back into Switzerland to the lovely city of Montreux. Same result, there is a border, but its inactive most of the time.
    Now let us switch to traveling from Italy to Switzerland by road, anyone see a hard border? No, the only way you know you are in Switzerland is when the Police set up almost a roadblock and stop you (in your droves) to issue draconian speeding fines!
    Do forum members know there is even a part of Italy called ‘Campione D’Italia’, which is inside Swiss territory and completely surrounded by Switzerland and isolated from Italy, even though it is in the Province of Como. Any hard borders? Any problems transiting in/out of EU? Of course not!
    For the skiers among you all, Anyone ever skiied in northern Lapland across the border from Finland to Norway? Any hard border? No. Any problems there exiting EU into a non EU state? No of course not! So why our stupid inept politicians are allowing the EU gravy train to drag this subject out when there are so many existing working examples in Europe for all to see.
    Oh and whilst on this subject and many people worry about the requirement of visas after Brexit, IMHO unnecessarily so. I ask does a Swiss or a Norwegian need a visa to come to UK, or any country in EU? No! Do any Brits need a visa to go to Switzerland or Norway? No!
    So, let us hope that UK politicians grow some cojones and deal with Monsieur Bernier and his trough feeders in a hard manner (and tell them where to go)!

    And one last amusing titbit of news for the British readers here. In Finland the Government has told their farmers that subsidies will be much reduced from 2020 because the EU budget will be slashed, as the UK is leaving (and taking EUR350 million per week away from the gravy train).


    As I do not recall in recent years flying specifically from UK to Norway or Switzerland (many times from elsewhere), but are there Duty Free allowances to/from those 2 countries? if not, as I suspect, then it will be the same arrangement I guess.

    Yes, duty free allowances are in place for those countries.


    Economics won’t change much since VW,BMW,Mercedes,and many others will have to lay off thousands of workers if their products went back to tariffs.
    Airbus already accepts that fact and is only considering building stocks of wings, engines,etc. until the politicians get their act together and stop their stupidity!
    Doubt they’ll have tariffs on alcohol, etc.either.


    @flightlevel —- Do you know the 2nd biggest export market for Mercedez after USA? The Gulf? No, its the UK. For sure Mercedez etc will not allow their government to screw up their 2nd best market. I also read an article today about the possibility of flights stopping between UK and Europe from March 2019. What this also means, is that LH/AF/IB/AZ/SK/AY/SN/TP/EI/OK/LX etc etc etc will not be able fly to UK — Does anyone believe those airlines (and their respective governments) will allow this situation to happen????. Its only M. Bernier and his team who is trying to show how powerful they are, but they will soon be reined in. (IMHO they (EU unelected officers), are paranoid about other countries following suit and also declaring their wish to leave, so they are extremely afraid that the ‘Gravy Train’ will end, so their wish, nay their ABSOLUTE NEED, is to show the rest of Europe how difficult it is to leave, and to dissuade them to ever consider it).


    Well, both Norway and Switzerland are part of the Shengen Area, therefore the absence of control at the border. I don’t think anybody in the UK would want that…


    Also, regarding Brexit negocations, I don’t think it’s such a life-threatening issue for Mercedes or other luxury car manufacturers.
    As you pointed out, the USA is Mercedes’ first export market while there isn’t even a free trade agreement with the EU. Why this success in the USA or China? Because consumers are willing to pay more for German quality. They don’t mind paying an extra 5%. Not true for a middle-range car like the ones sold by VW or Renault though.

    In any case, I don’t think tariffs will be high. EU car manufacturers also have a leverage:
    – There isn’t any independent British competitor which could lobby the UK government.
    – Vauxhall is owned by French PSA
    – BMW and Renault-Nissan both have plants in the UK.

    The only serious bargaining tools the UK government has are imho the disruption in the financial services market and the right to stay for the 3 millions EU citizens currently living in the UK (like me).
    Financial firms try to bypass the former by moving key operations to the EU27.
    Using the latter would be very risky given the past pledges and the presence of 1.5 million UK citizens in the continent.
    I didn’t mention the Irish border because it’s a political problem I am not very familiar with. I do not know to what extent the RoI and NI political parties would accept an unavoidable hard border.

    Lastly, I’m surprised to see how EU governments have managed to remain united on that topic. Brexit is now a secondary topic delegated to Michel Barnier.
    In the meantime, the impossibility for the British government to agree on a position is unbelievable. Keeping Brexiteers in government was a wise move. Letting them criticize publicly the PM is just political suicide.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I want to see an agreement. I don’t believe in bullying, either citizens or governments.
    Sadly, the UK government doesn’t have many cards in hand. Time is on the EU Commission’s side it seems.


    You make a good point Alainboy, and one I’ve been trying to emphasise to my politician friends.

    First, Ireland is not part of Schengen, so it’s up to the RoI to determine how it operates its shared border. If the UK and Ireland decide no border controls then that is their respective business.

    Second, any savvy traveler from South Africa knows this is the backdoor into the UK. They fly via AMS to DUB, no transit visa needed and no visa for Ireland needed, and then onto the UK – no official passport checks. They usually return direct from the UK via AMS and are never questioned by UK Border control as to why they don’t have a UK visa.

    The other issue is of course trade. But as you point out the border between Switzerland, where there is no customs union with the EU, and Germany/Italy etc is really very easy. Commercial traffic has to carry the right papers of course so there is a level of bureaucracy, but we always used to have inland clearing points and for very large importers you could (and I think still can for ex EU trade) request customs clearance on site.

    As for duty free, in Germany and Italy, your boarding pass determines if you can buy tax free or tax paid. It’s not that difficult today, and yes, I’m sure there are some pax who buy duty free for others travelling in the EU but I guess the amount lost to revenue collection is so small that the risk is acceptable to customs. Besides there are penalties if caught. So yes, duty free will remain if the UK is outside the customs union.


    This is an interesting article


    Cut n paste the above link into Google, to bypass the paywall.


    In the scheme of things, this is just about the least important issue around Brex**it that I can imagine. It verges on the frivolous.

    Well worth listening to rather than the shrill “in-denial” voices of your average Quitling:


    The suggestion from many of those backing this exercise in self-harm that this was all going to be so simple, so easy, that the UK would not have to honour any outstanding commitments and would get anything and everything that we demanded always was for the birds. But it looks as if some people are intent on perpetuating some of the myths routinely peddled during the referendum by those promoting Project Fear (70+ million Turks heading our way the week after next), Project Fibs (an extra £350M each and every week for the NHS) and Project Fantasy: that the UK could have its cake and eat it by retaining all of benefits but none of the costs of EU membership.

    The cliff edge so loved by Messrs Ree-Smugg and Redwood is approaching fast. Personally, I’d be delighted for them to jump, despite their knowing neither how high is the cliff nor how deep is the water. But I do object to their insistence that I go over the cliff with them.


    @AnthonyDunn — Please do not be so pessimistic. What one should try and remember, and this goes for all the British public who read the mirror/Sun etc etc or even the Guardian, is that this negotiation is not ALL one sided. It is always painted in a negative way about all the things that could possible happen on that day in March 2019, The usual headlines from the redtops “Shock Horror! Grandma Madge will not be able to fly to the Costa Brava to see here grandchildren”. However all possible “end of world’ scenarios that the journalists try to portray on a weekly basis (equally spreading fear), will apply equally to all the Europeans, the French, Spanish, Italians et al………..

    So the deal WILL be made, and as I have said so many times here and elsewhere, the chief negotiator namely M. Barnier, has been chosen specifically, and its not because he is a nice anglophile guy, its to show ALL other countries, Holland, Denmark, Sweden for example, to not even dare think about trying to leave this corrupt mafia, sorry, slip of the tongue, meant to say well run, well organised, well audited, fair and just amalgamation of Euro countries, as we will, we promise, torture you the same way!

    Now isn’t it strange, that when you put those countries I have just mentioned together, along with the UK of course, and lets throw in Norway as well, and one has now formed ‘The United Kingdoms of Northern Europe’ as they all have Royalty and are not Republics ………….. now there’s food for thought for you all. In my time …. I very much doubt it, but let’s write it down, put it in a time capsule somewhere, and we’ll see in the future.


    As I do not recall in recent years flying specifically from UK to Norway or Switzerland (many times from elsewhere), but are there Duty Free allowances to/from those 2 countries? if not, as I suspect, then it will be the same arrangement I guess.

    Yes, duty free allowances are in place for those countries.

    I can confirm the Oslo arrivals duty free is humongous & carries everything my brother wants me to pick up whenever I visit.

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