Vice Squad
Thursday, March 04, 2004
Finnish Alcohol Update

Last week Vice Squad mentioned the significant decrease in Finnish alcohol taxes, a move undertaken to remove some of the incentive for Finns to buy booze abroad. Lower prices didn't seem to produce much in the way of an immediate response, but some of Finland's remaining regulations concerning international alcohol trade have raised the ire of the European Commission. The two Finnish provisions creating controversy are that large imports of alcohol (even from European Union-member countries) by individuals must be declared, and that individual importers of large amounts must be able to show that the imports are for personal use, not resale. Restrictions on imports for commercial use are not problematic, but the burden of proof, according to the Commission, should be on the government (to show that the alcohol is not intended for personal use), and not on the traveler (to show that the alcohol is intended for personal use, which includes consumption at private gatherings.)

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