It's a world market. If the local market doesn't want to compete it's not my problem. The other reality is that like changing a car from stock to something personal... resale suffers. But the point is that retailers can clearly sell it for the same price as the EU and make money but choose not to. I understand they have to respect the minimum listed price, but that doesn't mean they can't sell it for less. If Colorware can paint them and sell them for the MSRP then the others can certainly afford to eat the difference. I paid $1105 for mine, to my door, taxes in. Couldn't be happier :D
Oh, but the local market does want to compete, just Sennheiser doesn't want them to They don't want people to start having the perception that the HD800 is in the same league as the LCD-2 and T1. I assume your referring to buying them from Meier Audio, he even advertised the lower price for awhile but I'm sure Sennheiser made him take it down. It is unfortunate that the NA retail is basically EU price + VAT even without actually having the VAT apply. I'm sure there are local vendors willing to work around the MSRP, either under the table or perhaps offering "free cable upgrades" or the like. $1100 new certainly seems like a fair price to me, given their elite performance. I've never quite understand the MSRP price fixing though, Sennheiser is making the same per headphone regardless of how much a vendor sells it for I would imagine.
Sennheiser isn't alone in this though. The Fostex TH-900 is $500 cheaper in Japan, SR-009 nearly $2,000 cheaper, and other examples exist as well.