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WTO backs US and Japan in electronics tariff dispute with EU

updated 08:55 pm EDT, Mon August 16, 2010

EU argues exemption for new products

The World Trade Organization has sided with the US, Japan and Taiwan in an ongoing dispute over European Union tariffs for certain electronics items. A panel has decided that the EU has violated the WTO's Information Technology Agreement by imposing duties on flat-panel displays, multifunction printers and TV set-top boxes.

The European Union defends the duties, claiming the products have evolved with new functionality that fits the label of consumer goods rather than information technology, according to a New York Times report. Officials suggest flat-panel displays are no longer limited to computers, as many models can also serve as television screens.

US trade representative Ron Kirk has hailed the ruling as a significant victory, while Japan minister Masayuki Naoshima has asked the EU to quickly remove the tariffs. After the products were reclassified, the EU applied tariffs ranging from 6 to 14 percent and totaling $11 billion in 2007.

The ruling still leaves 60 days for an appeal filing, although the European Commission has yet to decide on further action.

by MacNN Staff



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