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EU slaps import duty on large LCD screens

Puts squeeze on 19 inches plus

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The EU plans to impose a 14 per cent import duty on imports of larger LCD screens, leading pundits to forecast a huge hike in sticker prices.

Dutch trade organisation ICT Office believes the tariff will cost its members "millions".

The tariff would be applied to all monitors that are not produced within the EU, which is the majority of monitors imported. LG manufactures some units in Wales, while Philips manufactures most of its units in the Far East.

Last year the Netherlands became the first EU member state to impose a 14 per cent tax on DVI screens as a result of a EU directive signed in 2004. Imports shifted largely to Germany, which still allows zero duty imports. Eventually the Dutch State Secretary of Finance intervened and decided that LCD monitors classified solely as a computer monitor would not have to be taxed.

This is now going to change again in all EU member states. LCD DVI computer screens larger than 19 inch - monitors which often also can be used to watch television - are likely to be taxed. This spells trouble in particular for Media Center rigs, which often require a large monitor.

ICT Office says that the EU tariff conflicts with the Information Technology Agreement (ITA), which clearly states that the use of levies would not be encouraged through future trade agreements.®

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