Cross-Channel sales threatened by Euro ruling

20 November, 2008

Cross-Channel imports of alcohol and cigarettes are expected to be severely curtailed following a ruling by the European Parliament.

European politicians say the guidelines for personal consumption should be five litres of spirits, 45 litres of wine and 55 litres of beer.

UK Customs currently tolerates imports of 10 litres of spirits, 90 litres of wine and and 110 litres of beer.

Cigarette imports could be hit even harder. The European Parliament wants a limit of 400 cigarettes, 200 cigarillos and 100 cigars. The current figure is 3,200 cigarettes, 400 cigarillos and 200 cigars.

The Parliamentís decision needs to be ratified by member governments, and although the UK may decide to opt for a more tolerant approach it usually follows the European line.

The ruling could put more pressure on the Calais drinks business, which has already been suffering as a result of the euroís relative strength against the ailing pound.

Some MPs have already voiced concern about the latest proposals, which they fear could criminalise bargain hunters by putting them in the same bracket as smugglers.




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