It's painfully obvious that the majority of this is related to currency fluctuations in the global markets. I wouldn't be surprised that many audio manufacturers investment books are tied to the almighty US$ or perhaps the Euro, which in light of recent currency issues would be playing a great deal of havoc with peoples bottom lines.
Let's face it, even without the currency flip issues, a "distributor" is basically absorbing all the additional costs that Alan points out in his "blue sky" thinking note above. They are the ones that have to push out the product, and warehouse it.. and in many cases provide after sale support.
If you think that doesn't cost $$$ these days, then you're deluding yourself. So, in many ways it doesn't surprise me that products outside of their native market are hit with a horrible premium. Whether or not you can stomach the extra cost to get into a product that you find affinity with, is ultimately your choice.