updated 03:40 pm EDT, Tue July 27, 2010
WTO says EU duties on some electronics illegal
Duties levied by the European Union on imported consumer electronics violate an international trade agreement, a World Trade Organization panel has ruled recently. According to a Tuesday report, the WTO panel showed its report to the European Commission on Friday, with the US, Japan and Taiwan complaining about the duties.
Specifically, duties on flat-panel computer screens, multifunction printers and cable boxes shouldn't exist, they argued.
The tariffs allegedly violated the Information Technology Agreement of 1996, which was signed by 70 countries. The European Union imported $11 billion worth of the affected products in 2007 alone and would have collected significant fees as a result. The duties range from 6 to 14 percent.
In its defense, the EU claimed the electronics in question fall outside the terms of the agreement. The EU further maintains that the deal must be updated to reflect new products and technologies on the market. The industry and the three countries in return argue that by this logic, all electronics devices will eventually no longer meet the definitions of products outlined in the agreement.