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Booze cruise importers face limits

The government is planning a crackdown on travellers bringing back large amounts of booze from other EU countries. Although customs cannot prevent large shipments, they may start to demand explanations from people whose imports exceed a certain amount.

Nainen Länsisatamassa lavallisen alkoholijuomia kanssa.
Image: Yle

The ”booze rally” between Finland and Estonia has intensified in recent years as slow economic growth, high Finnish prices and a nearby centre of low-cost alcohol retailing combined to bring the Helsinki-Tallinn ferry traffic to a peak.

As booze cruising has become more popular, so the government’s tax take has decreased. In 2013 the Finance ministry revised down its expected take from alcohol tax revenues by 42 million Euros, with

Now the government is looking to curb booze cruising to the southern neighbour. Although travellers are free to bring alcohol into the country from other EU states, the drink has to be for the travellers' own use.

Ministers want to tighten Finnish Customs’ interpretation of that rule. In future, they may demand travellers exceeding certain limits would have to provide an explanation. Those importing more than 90 litres of wine (of which a maximum of 60 litres may be sparkling wine), 110 litres of beer, 20 litres of liqueurs or strong spirits, or ten litres of other drinks, will have to explain themselves.

Similar limits are already in place in other European countries.

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