Thursday, February 06, 2014

Not-so-free Trade

From Stars & Stripes (via

Italy to Charge Taxes and Duties on Military Mail

NAPLES, Italy -- Italian customs agents in Rome have begun charging taxes and duties on packages entering the U.S. military mail system in the country, prompting a dispute over one aspect of basing agreements between the two countries.

. . . .

The base warned personnel earlier this week that shipped merchandise worth more than 22 euros, about $30, would be subject to Italy's value-added tax and customs duties.

A colleague once went on a mission trip to Mexico to build houses for poor people, taking their building supplies with them. These wound up being heavily taxed at the border.

What I don't understand is, for all the diplomatic and political effort put into advancing "Free Trade" agreements, they doesn't seem to actually do much for ordinary Americans moving stuff across other countries borders. It's almost as if making use of the agreements require . . . political access? But of course, we know that cronyism could never happen here.


Anonymous said...

I was always puzzled by the thought process of missionaries who think Mexico has a shortage of building materials, unskilled laborers, and Christians.


Dr. Φ said...

On a positive note, it's drivable.