Letter: End of duty-free

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IT WAS ministers of European Union governments who unanimously proposed scrapping duty-free sales within the EU in 1991, just before the completion of the Single Market ("Pressure grows for U-turn on duty- free," 10 March). The European Commission does not vote legislation into effect in the EU.

Dire warnings of chaos on ferries and aeroplanes represent one of the most narrow arguments yet put forward by those trying to get the decision reversed. They should be answering the question of why air and ferry passengers, particularly regular ones, should continue to benefit from what amounts to an unfair tax advantage.

By the time duty-free sales end in June next year, the industry will have had nearly eight years to prepare for the changes. If, after all that time, we are still being confronted with doomsday scenarios of huge job losses and bankruptcies, one has to ask where the responsibility for that lies.

GEOFFREY MARTIN

Head of the Representation in the United Kingdom

The European Commission

London SW1

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