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The Retail Council of Canada is saying "not so fast" when it comes to blaming Canadian retailers for price differences on identical goods being sold on either side of the border.
The RCC spoke in front a Senate committee looking into the issue on Tuesday. Karen Proud, the VP of Federal Government Relations for the organization, says they identified four key factors that contribute to the price gap. Proud says tariffs on finished products coming into Canada can reach 18% and some multi-national suppliers tend to raise the price when selling to Canadian retailers, adding that supply management and regulatory harmonization are also issues.
"The focus has been on the retailers, [and] that's a focus that doesn't belong," said Proud. "There are many other factors that come into play. The other thing we're hoping for is that [the Senate] recommends solid government action that might help level the playing field."
Proud says examples of big price differences are hockey equipment and tires, one due to high tariffs, the other due to "country pricing." She says retailers in British Columbia have been hit the hardest by cross-border shopping.
The RCC says they are pleased that the Senate is looking into this issue, adding they hope the report they eventually release gives people a better idea of why there is a price difference. (jk)