Yes, Sony definitely missed the ship on not launching in multiple countries at once. I think their gameplan was to see how well it performed in the US prior to launching in other countries to avoid another Librie snafu (it's what I'd have done). Hopefully, given the success of the Reader and the rampant adoption of eInk displays, Sony will get off their duff and supplant their products in other countries for other more entrepreneuring companies beat them to the the punch.
I totally feel you pain with all the taxes and tarriffs being applied to imports, guess it's all about the government wanting to make their buck on something the couldn't tax in the country of origin. Wonder where China would be if countries taxed the hell out of their imports?