Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has awarded an A to the report of the Senate Committee on National Finance examining the price differences between Canada and the U.S., noting that it reflect retailers' cost pressures and offers some good recommendations.
"We thank the Senators involved in this report for their hard work," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, RCC. "Minister Flaherty mandated the Senate Committee to explore the root causes behind differences in price between Canada and U.S. The Committee's findings illustrate that without change, Canadian retailers will continue to operate at a cost disadvantage."
RCC's report card marks the report on two categories that have significant influence on pricing.
Tariffs - The government's decision in the last budget to increase duty exemptions for cross border shopping has had a very negative impact on Canada's retailers, particularly those in border communities. RCC recommended that the Committee urge the government to expedite its review of the tariff system in Canada in order to minimize the impact of the exemption limit changes.
SCORE: A. The Committee has recommended the government review tariffs, with "the objective of reducing the price discrepancies for certain products between Canada and the United States".
Country Pricing - Country pricing is practiced by some suppliers who sell identical goods to Canadian retailers at a cost that is highly inflated over what American retailers pay. RCC asked that the Committee set the record straight about the real cause of price differences in Canada.
SCORE: A. The Committee has clearly acknowledged the reality and negative impact of the practice of country pricing on Canadian retailers.
RCC appreciates that the Senate addressed a continued need to harmonize regulations with the U.S. RCC is also very pleased that the Senate Committee specifically addressed the needs of Canadian booksellers, by recommending that the Minister of Canadian
Heritage consider reducing the 10 per cent mark-up that distributors can add to the U.S. list price of American books imported into Canada.
"We are happy with the progress made by the Senate Committee in addressing changes needed to help retailers and consumers," said Brisebois. "The government must now act in its upcoming budget to implement many of the recommendations of this report and be a part of the solution. Retailers continue to do their job in delivering value to consumers. It is now time for our government to assist in leveling the playing field for our businesses in Canada."
Retail Council of Canada (www.retailcouncil.org) is the Voice of Retail. Founded in 1963, RCC is a not-for-profit association which represents more than 45,000 stores of all retail formats, including department, grocery, independent merchants, regional and national specialty chains, and online merchants.