Tariff reductions for many electronic products

The European Union (EU), the USA, China, Japan and 50 other members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have agreed on the clearance of import duties for more than 200 IT products. The new [bold] Information Technology Agreement (ITA)/bold covers about 90% of world trade in these products and will be phased in. Member States are free to implement the agreement earlier.

The Council, in implementation of the Agreement on Trade in Information Technology Products (ITA), has adopted substantial decreases in customs duties for IT products affecting their classification in the Combined Nomenclature (CN).

These tariff reductions came into force on 01.07.2016.

Duty-free products

The goods concerned are numerous products falling within Chapters 84, 85, 88, 90 and 95 of the Harmonised System (HS), including medical devices, smartphones, GPS devices, touch screens, video games and consoles, hi-fi devices, routers, headphones, copying machines, blue-ray and DVD players, LED modules and semiconductors. Also concerned are computers and telephone sets, but also components and machines for the manufacture of IT goods.

However, some goods are not covered by the agreement, so choosing the right tariff number will be an extremely important success factor for economic operators.

Reductions in customs duties may affect BTI

Importing companies should review their handling practices. This applies in particular to holders of a Binding Tariff Information (BTI) which may have become invalid.

In the course of this, the tariff classification of the goods concerned was also changed with the Implementation Regulation (EU) 2016/1047. The CN codes for a large number of IT products and their components were restructured. As far as the individual goods are concerned by the tariff reductions, they must be given new tariff numbers.

The change of CN codes may affect previously issued Binding Tariff Information (BTI). Customs law stipulates that BTI can become ineffective before the expiry of the actual period (six years under the old law and three years under new law) if the Combined Nomenclature changes.

Checking whether the changes affect your business avoids conflicts with the customs authorities. Contact us now our Customs attorneys.

Lawyer Dr. Tristan Wegner

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