Monday, December 29, 2008


Greetings from the customs territory of the United States, but just barely.

I'm annoyed at Google today because when I tried to search for something, it sent me to en espanol.  I understand that this is a feature not a bug and that it makes life easier for the locals.  But how come I can't get to my plain old Google?  When I manually enter the Yankee-centric address, I am redirected to the .pr version.  Happily, there is " ofrecido en: English."

Note that the same thing happens with Blogger.  Google should set a cookie or profile tag with my preferred language and search page.

Here's a question to which I should know the answer.  Why are they letting me in duty free stores here?  As I recall (and I admit I have not looked at this for a while), the reason the proprietor of a duty-free store is exempted from duty liability is that the goods are being sold for export.  Last I checked, I was still in the customs territory?  What gives?  In this case, is it just about Commonwealth taxes?  This is from an official-looking web site:

Duty Free 
Puerto Rico is not a duty free island, although there are duty free shops at the airport. There is sales tax ONLY on jewelry. If you are returning to the U.S., because you’re still in the U.S., there is no duty to pay when you return home.

So duty is paid on imports to Puerto Rico (I knew that).  There are no duties due on goods shipped from the island to the mainland U.S. (I knew that too).

My guess is that the duty-free stores are just accouonting for export sales and non-export sales.  But, I may be unaware of some detail and I am on vacation so I am not going to look at the regulation.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I had the same issue when in Honduras recently. I somehow managed to bring up the US google after some time under "my account" in google, however later in the afternoon when I restarted my computer it defaulted back. So in essence, a lot of work for nothing.