Dinosaur EU must stop trampling on modern life

EU must honour its commitment to drop tariffs on IT goods

Brussels, January 2008 — The European Union is breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of an agreement it signed committing it to allow tariff-free trade of certain IT products, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, said today.

The Information Technology Agreement was signed by 70 WTO members in 1997. Between them, the signatories account for 97 per cent of world trade in technology products.

United States Trade Representative, Susan Schwab, has now said she is considering taking action against the EU and she is in discussions with other countries that feel European tariffs on products like set-top boxes, multifunctional printer/copier/fax machines and large LCD monitors (which the EU incorrectly classifies as televisions to allow tariffs to be levied) are a violation of the agreement.

Sir Robert said:

“The EU needs to recognise products have evolved in the 11 years since the ITA was signed. The EU is deliberately seeking to classify as many products as possible as outside the ITA so it can charge tariffs on them.

“This kind of underhand behaviour is totally unacceptable and the US has every right to retaliate. If the EU had no intention of honouring this agreement, why did it sign up to it?

“The European Union is acting like a dinosaur trampling on modern life by stopping British consumers from accessing modern inventions that people on other continents, East and West, take for granted.”

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