July 20, 2011 / 2:38 PM / 6 years ago

EU accused of not cutting tariffs on tech imports

GENEVA (Reuters) - Japan, Taiwan and the United States on Wednesday accused the European Union of failing to abolish taxes on some electronic hardware imports, despite being told to do so by the World Trade Organization, sources said.

The three countries launched a complaint against the EU three years ago, saying the bloc had broken the global Information Technology Agreement by putting import duties on flat-panel displays, television set-top boxes and multifunction printer-copiers.

U.S. trade officials estimated EU imports of the three products amounted to $7 billion in 2009.

The complainants won the backing of a WTO panel in August last year and the trade body gave the EU a June 30 deadline to cut the import duties.

The EU said on Wednesday that it had done so, but the three complainants disagreed, a source close to the WTO said.

Representatives from the tree countries met the WTO on Wednesday and said the revised EU import rules were ambiguous and might not be applied in the same way across the 27-nation bloc, the source said.

The three highlighted a 2.2 percent import duty for some multifunctional digital copiers and questioned the EU’s report that it had repealed duties on flat panel displays in 2009, the source said.

Under WTO complaint procedures, after a 15-day consultation period, the three countries would be able to ask a WTO panel to let them take countermeasures to punish the EU for failing to comply.

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