28 January 2009
Proposed European Commission Review
of the Customs Classification of Mobile Telephones
The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) and the Communications and Information network Association of Japan (CIAJ) read with interest the press release by the European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Associations (EICTA) dated 8 December 2008, entitled “Industry Calls on European Commission and Member States to Respect WTO Commitments. Commission to propose new tax on mobile phones.”
Given the global nature of their business operations, our members must be closely attentive to the tariff treatment of information technology products.
We are strong supporters of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and consider it critical that the principles and the spirit of the ITA are maintained.
We regard the proposed review of the EU customs classification of multifunctional mobile telephones with both interest and concern. Moves have already been made to reclassify and impose higher tariffs on a number of sophisticated multifunctional products that incorporate technological advances to meet consumer needs, and consultations are currently underway in WTO dispute settlement panels in relation to LCD monitors, set-top boxes and multifunctional printers. Where reclassification leads to the imposition of higher import duties on these high-performance multifunctional products, the resulting higher prices will increase the consumer burden and, moreover, obstruct the technological innovation essential to economic development.
We are therefore very keen to ensure that the EU’s current move to reclassify multifunctional mobile telephones does not lead to higher tariffs, and urge the EU to respect their WTO commitments, promote free and fair trade and avoid obstructing the advance of the IT industry as both the foundation for and the driver of industrial development.