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The stronger EURO is making it hard to purchase high-end equipment in Germany with the dollar sinking to all time lows. Are there any other people living in Europe, paid in dollars and facing the stiff fines of the EURO?
Is it possible to go to vendors in the states and ask to purchase 220 volt items directly, instead of paying the high export price here in Germany?
Shortly after introduction, 1 Euro bought 80 US cents or vice-versa 80 Dollars US bought 100 Euro. Today you'll need $129 to buy the same Euro. Nothing to do with hi-fi, lots to do with international politics.
The Euro isn't killing audio....rather its the German Government's taxation program that's killing Germany.
....most European central banks (and stock markets) are more than a bit concerned about George W's record deficit.
the French and Germans have spent themselves into bankruptcy with their socialist policies and restrictions on work weeks and their immigration policies. That's why their taxes are so high and many of the premier businesses are going out of business. In France right now, even if you own your own business, you are not allowed to work more than 32 hours a week or you get a very stiff fine. German gov't has had to sell gov't property at auction to meet gov't obligations. Crazy!!!!
they've had to rebuild an entire country's infrastructure at an enormous expense without any new revenue to show for it. Kinda like the US having merged with Mexico.............
> > Kinda like the US having merged with Mexico < <
Or like the US having merged with Iraq, to cite a real - world example. Let's not forget that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz promised Congress in March 2003, "We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon." Ha ha, what a wacky joker.
I just returned to the states from France.
It's a problem. One thing I would do is bargain. The local REL distributor ended up giving me 20% off. Given the exchange rate will largely hurt exports, companies are hurting for customers and you can probably pick up some deals.
Aren't you given a post adjustment of some sort to keep your pay level against the euro?
Many US mfrs will wire for 240. But, you probably won't do better getting US manufacturers to wire for 240 and then ship it to you. The main reason is that you'll pay for shipping plus get whacked at customs.
The strong EURO means you get more US$ for one Euro thus meaning you get more for your Euro not less.
High prices relative to US list prices has more to do with transportation costs, import duty and don't forget 16% VAT. So even if you do purchase direct in the states expect to tack on about 25% to what you paid in US$.
If you're paid in dollars, as the poster is, and living in Europe, your ability to buy things priced in Euros is rapidly declining. Of course this implies that European sellers of U.S. goods have not passed on the exchange rate savings, but there might be various reasons for that, including the fact that their local overhead and salary costs haven't fallen. You're right about taxes in general, but those haven't gotten more onerous recently, have they?
IF he is talking about European produced products then yes they are going up in price when purchased with ever weaker dollars. But if he is talking about US produced goods then in theory it shouldn't make a difference other than the fact he gets fewer Euros for his $. Unfortunately audio stuff is not sold as a commodity like oil or RAM chips. (-:
Actually it is a weak $ not a strong Euro. The Euro-Sterling rate has not changed that much.
Prices are way more rigid than that. Audio prices are hard to compare because you have to ask a dealer for a quote, but an iMac G5 costs 1399(+ridiculous tax ~20%) euros in France vs. $1299(+perhaps, if bought locally, 5-8% tax) in the US. Same model, both made in China (I'd perhaps understand if it were made in the US), yet one costs about 50% more.
Check the entire lineup, it's really weird.
Actually looking back at my post, I could see how my intent was misconstrued, not to spark debates about financial politics, however to emphasise my intent, I will explain what I meant with additional details. But first to clear up some things about buying products in Germany..I have been here off and on for about 18 years and have been through the ups and downs of the Deutsche mark and now the EURO and the effects of a weak or strong dollar.
Americans working and living abroad are often supplemented with an additional COLA, cost of living allowance to make up for the weaker dollar, it does not bring equal parity, but helps soften the blow in purchasing items in the local economy.
Germany has a 16% VAT (Value Added Tax) that can be exempted by certain employees of NATO, and DOD employees. It helps tremendously when buying German goods and products.
For American goods and products that are sold in Germnay, anyone can face up to a 25% increase in price due to German customs (Zoll). The customs varies based upon product, but the average is about 20%.
Add the 16% tax (MWSTR) and the 20% custom (duties, Zoll) and you have a US product that is 36% more expensive here in Germany than in the states, remove the 16% tax and you are left with a 20% markup.
How does this relate to buying HI-FI? Well being in Germany and trying to get US products wired for 220Volt is problematic, US vendors do not want to sell products direct at US prices wired for 220volt or whatever that country you are in at the time needs for power. They will tell you to buy locally, so in Germany I am faced with either buying some German brand HI-FI or some US made one sucking up the loss in the wallet to get what I want because of the weak dollar.
One advantage here is buying high end German products, Octave, Transrotor, Clearaudio and T&A seem to be cheaper here despite the weak dollar because of US import duties on these products.
Still, a 5000 Euro German made product will cost $6450 dollars
A 10000 Euro German made product will cost $12900 at a 1.29 exchange rate
The Krell SACD player sells for about $3200-$4000 in the states, here is it about 5600 Euro...or $6664 dollars!
So I am ranting about a weak dollar and how it effects my purchasing of hi-fi products. I don't want to buy US made (I really do though)because I will be throwing away my hard earned buck here in Germany, so I am faced with sucking it up (high end purchase) for a while or getting some good German hi-fi bargains or prodding the US vendors to support employees of the US overseas that travel a lot and require odd powered electronics and not pay the local price of siad product. Hmmm, maybe I should start my own import/export venture.
I appreciate your personal concern but it is not a currency exchange problem. I have lived here in Germany for nearly 25 years and have been paid at various times in US$, DMarks, Swiss Francs and Euros.
When the dollar was sky high in the 80's (over 3 DM per $) US audio prodcts were extremely expensive in DMs. You got lots of DMs for your dollar but you also paid an inflated DM price.
Now the Euro is worth lots of bucks so in theory the cost of importing the US products is in theory lower (in Euros) but you don't many Euros for a buck so the product is still expensive.
The "problem" for you is the same as for every German buyer of US audio products, namely they are simply alot more expensive here that in the states regardless of what the exchange rate is.
Duty is not 20%, 5-8% is typical for most audio products (I know it's my business) so it is not the main problem but shipping can be expensive and getting more expensive every day and then the 16% VAT as you mentioned.
Yes, it a "problem" for some but it is not an exchange rate problem.
Do like alot of Germans I know. Take a trip to NYC and buy a bunch of stuff at dealers there making sure you wave a fistful of bucks at them. Ship it back with you as part of your luggage. It was a gift and perfectly legal as far as customs is concerned.
allows you around 250 Euro tax free...after that you're smuggling. Get caught and you'll end up supporting a German charity to the tune of a thousand Euro or so.
The Germans have a great way to levy smuggling fines. They calculate your disposable income then send you a pre-filled out donation slip of an appropriate amount. When they receive notification from the charity that you paid, you're off the hook.
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