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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 20:24 GMT
EU plans to raise duty-free limit
A quantity limit will be set for beer under the plans
The European Commission has unveiled proposals to increase the allowances on duty-free goods that can be brought in from outside the EU.

If agreed, the existing limit of 175 euros (120) worth of goods will rise to 500 euros for air travellers.

For passengers on other forms of transport it will be 220 euros.

The lower allowance for road, rail and sea passengers is because some countries bordering the EU have significantly lower prices.

The current financial limit does not include alcohol and tobacco - set separately at one litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes.

Changing times

Under the proposals, countries will be allowed to reduce the allowance of duty-free tobacco to "support their health policies".

The increases would benefit consumers, but also reduce administrative costs to governments who would not have to collect relatively small amounts of tax, the EU said.

EU tax commissioner Laszlo Kovacs said: "Many of the rules on travellers' allowances were set down in a directive adopted in 1969 and are no longer relevant in today's world."

Quantity limits on perfume, coffee and tea will be abolished, while beer will in future be limited to 16 litres duty-free when brought in from outside the EU.

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