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US files complaint with WTO over EU tariffs on high-tech products

Nilay Patel

Yeah, so Sony's hitting us with magically-thin OLED TVs, Microsoft is showing off Windows 7, and Google's demoing hot new Android phones, but nothing gets us going like an old-fashioned tariff agreement dispute based on the classification of certain types of goods, you know? That's just good clean fun. It's also what's going down between the US and the EU -- our charming government has just filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization, alleging that the EU is mis-classifying multifunction printers, flat-panel computer displays, and cable boxes that fall under the 1996 Information Technology Agreement in order to collect tariffs on their imports. Essentially all these products should be duty-free, but the EU says their additional functions require the ITA be re-negotiated to cover them -- LCD displays can also be used with DVD players, for example, and so qualify as "video monitors," which are taxed. Sure, it's a totally semantic fight, but that's what trade representatives live for -- we hear this one's going to be bigger than the 2006 Canadian Softwood Lumber Import showdown.

[Via Physorg]

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