that is part of it. tires are the other thing. if availble in the US they are 2x the price. with Shimano, i cant even order it locally as they are just simply not available. in europe they are in stock ready to ship.
yeah, there are reasons you can't order that stuff in the US.
Euro economic laws are pretty different than they are here. especially their laws regarding taxation (VAT vs. US sales tax). By purchasing from Europe and shipping to the US, you are avoiding a huge chunk of tax (varies from country to country in the EU, but 19% is not uncommon). And since shippers also don't often charge sales tax, items are often less expensive purchased that way than the WHOLESALE cost in the US. US retailers have been losing sales on that, and there's not **** they can do about it to "compete". It's a very unfair marketplace, so they've been begging for years for the manufacturers to do something about it to protect them.
Some of the larger ones have taken steps to prohibit their Euro dealers from shipping to the US.
Sucks right now with various shortages, but it is what it is. You're not going to get around it and also avoid paying VAT. If you managed to find an intermediary like you're seeking, you're not going to wind up saving money because you're going to have to pay the intermediary, too.
Other riders have been finding other creative solutions to the problem if they've run into it. It's been a boon for some of the small drivetrain companies like Box. Me, I used some foresight. I bought some tires last summer long before I needed them. I bought brake pads long before I needed them (they were iffy on supply, so I put some on a watch list and bought when they became available). I did the same with a Shimano 12spd chain. I already have other spare service parts. I've always liked keeping spare service parts sitting around. Not because of supply problems like now, but simply because when something needs replacing, I've always liked having it on hand so I can grab it and install it instead of sitting my bike aside, going to order the thing, waiting for the thing, and THEN installing the thing. It's a mentality that's served me well the past couple of years.