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EU’s ‘crockery tax’ extension riles business

THE EU’s EXTENSION of the ‘crockery tax’ has been bemoaned by business representatives.

Its commission has announced plans to extend the taxes through to 2018. The tax form part of ceramic tableware ‘anti-dumping’ duties. Dumping is the process by which products are sold into a foreign market below the local market price.

The extension of the duties were initially announced last November.

The British Retail Consortium said that the import tax was a “pointless extra cost”.

“This decision is contrary to the free trade principles the Commission says it supports and hard-pressed customers are paying in the form of higher shop prices,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium.

“It’s an avoidable inflationary pressure that is entirely unjustified. It will do nothing to support European producers who don’t have the capacity to supply enough of these products for the value end of the market anyway.”

Following protests at the duty, the rate has been lowered to 36%. It is estimated that the duty will add €200m (£170m) to importers’ costs. The UK abstained from the proposals vote.

“I’m pleased our efforts have helped persuade the commission to reduce the rates of duty applied but the impact on shop prices will still be painful. There should be no duties at all,” Dickinson added.

The duties were the result of an investigation by the Commission into claims by the European ceramics industry that Chinese producers are selling into the EU at artificially low prices.

The EU market for ceramic tableware and kitchenware is worth €1.5bn billion. Half of that (€730m-worth) comes from China. In volume terms, 80% of all the EU’s imports of ceramic tableware come from China.

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