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Technology Companies Slam European Commission Tax Proposals

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

31 December 2008


The European Commission has come under sustained criticism over its proposal to put import duties of 14% on ‘multi-functioning’ mobile telephones for customs purposes; the Commission has suggested they are no longer telephone devices but are multi-use devices with telephone capabilities.

The European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association, which represents more than 10,000 consumer electronics industry enterprises in Europe including, Apple, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, and LG Electronics, has emphasised that the reform could be devastating for the future of the high technology mobile telephone market. It said:

"European companies would face a further costly blow to their operations in the EU, at a time when many are struggling to maintain profitability, given the economic crisis. We are witnessing a lack of joined-up government in the EU. At a time when Europe is confronted with protracted recession, there is a need to reassure consumers.”

“The Industry calls on the Commission and the member states to refrain from any new customs decisions that will increase the cost of technology in Europe, and instead accelerate the adoption of the pro-consumer, pro-technology policies outlined in the Commission’s own Economic Recovery Plan.”

In a statement Nokia said: “While only a small number of sophisticated mobile phones in the industry would be affected today, due to rapid technological advances the number would likely rise significantly in the coming months and years."

It was recently claimed by the Commission that the market would be worth somewhere in the region of EUR7.8bn in 2013, and many experts believe that this figure would be severely impaired by the proposed import tax.


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