Letter: Kinnock's duty

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The Independent Culture
Sir: With reference to your story (5 November) about duty-free allowances: I have never used, nor will I use, the duty-free alcohol, tobacco and fuel allowances accorded to foreign-posted diplomats and European Commissioners under the 1961 Vienna international conventions.

Meanwhile the decision to end duty-free sales for travellers within the European Union was made unanimously by the economic and finance ministers (Ecofin Council) of the member state governments in 1991. That decision, which will take effect next summer, has been reaffirmed by the Council in recent years. The Commission is, naturally, obliged to implement that law. It will affect all travellers including, of course, diplomats and Commissioners.

There is no connection between 1961 arrangements and the 1991 decision.

Neil Kinnock

Member of the European Commission