Europe 1993: Travellers gain higher buying limits

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The Independent Online
THE BIG change for travellers concerns purchases in non-duty- free shops in other EC countries, excluding the Channel and Canary Islands. There are no changes to duty-free allowances on goods bought while travelling inside, or outside the EC.

Personal allowances on goods bought in the EC have been increased sharply. The allowance on cigarettes has increased from 300 to 800, on cigarillos from 150 to 400, on cigars from 75 to 200, and on smoking tobacco from 400g to 1kg.

Similarly, the allowance on wine has risen from 5 to 90 litres, of which not more than 60 should be sparkling. Ten litres of spirits can be brought back, up from 1.5; the ceiling on beer has been lifted from 50 to 110 litres.

Previous limits of 90ml of perfume and 375ml of toilet water have been abolished, as have allowances on almost all other goods. There are special schemes for private purchases of motor vehicles, boats and planes.

There is, however, no absolute limit to the amount of alcoholic and tobacco products that can be brought back for personal use. Customs can make special allowances for a van-load of booze for events such as weddings.

A Customs spokesman said: 'The new levels are not fixed, but are Community-agreed generous allowances for personal consumption. We will, though, still have the right to stop you.'

Resale of goods bought abroad remains an offence; so is accepting money to make purchases.

While duty-free allowances remain the same, they can be added to the total purchases brought back from EC countries.

The duty-free allowance on tobacco products is 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.

For drinks, two litres of table wine can be brought back, plus 1 litre of spirits, strong liqueurs over 22 per cent volume, or two litres of fortified or sparkling wine, or an additional still table- wine allowance of two litres. The perfume allowance is restricted to 60ml; for toilet water, to 250ml. Gifts, souvenirs and all other goods must not exceed pounds 36 in value.

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