back to article US protests to WTO over EU 'IT' tariffs

The US and Japan today filed complaints with the World Trade Organization over European Union tariffs on imported flat-screen monitors, some TV set-top boxes, and printers able to scan, fax and copy. The Office of US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said the United States has requested the World Trade Organization help …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Well what a surprise? (not)

    Well, see over here in EU-land we have a lot of bureaucrats and MPs, SMPs, XMPs, local authorities, state run or state financed organisations and these (in the main) tend to cost a lot of money.

    The model used follows lines of: exceedingly well paid top brass, very low paid grunts and frontliners (eg the Parachute Regiment or others).

    See, its the way things are done in EU-land.

    So, in order to keep MP expenses in the region of several hundreds of thousands of pounds (that is UKP) they got to get the muni from somewhere. Our exceedingly loyal (un)civil servants also need a robust cashflow to ensure sufficient government finds are made available to send kids (their own or recently acquired through marital rearrangement) to private (that is public) education.

    Abstract: it does not matter how good the argument is, it ain't gonna happen as the top brass needz ther dosh see! (?)

  2. Simon

    US, WTO?

    How can the US ask the WTO to help them when they blatenty ignore directives against them? Can you say Antigua?

    If the WTO have any backbone at all they will get compliance from the US before starting any negotiations for the US. They can't have their cake and eat it!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The bigger picture

    Much as I would like to report that I have taken delivery of a nice new flat panel monitor, thus dragging my graphical computing experience into the 21st century, I'd prefer if the EU donated their tariffs to Antigua & Barbuda.

    It'll help make up some of the shortfall in their claim for $3.4 bil. against the US. The final settlement of $21 mil. wouldn't keep the air conditioning running for a year (given global warming and ever increasing energy costs).

    Quite why the US have turned to the WTO to settle this is beyond my current understanding. I live to be enlightened.

  4. frymaster

    @Well what a surprise? (not)

    Yes, because I'm sure the expenses paid to MPs would have to go down if these tariffs were eliminated... not

    MPs expenses are, compared to the government as a whole, nothing. They should still be well regulated (probably better than they are) mainly because if the MPs can't run parliament well then how can they be trusted with the country?

    But saying they want tarrifs in order to increase the money that goes into their pockets? Nah.

    MPs want more money in order to spend it on things that they think taxpayers will want, in order that taxpayers will vote for them and their party. This may or may not be in the best interests of the country. It also means the system can be ineffective and wasteful without requiring every MP to be evil (they may stay for otther reasons but I suspect most MPs get into politics out of a genuine desire to change their country for what they think is better)

    Personally I find this to be more depressing than your own theory. Choose your cynicism with care, conspiracy theories are so last century.

  5. Steve again

    Re: Dual use foodstuff

    Simon, I've always had problems pronouncing Antigua correctly, for some reason.

    I suspect that the WTO's spinal fortitude is inversely proportional to the member country's fiscal contribution to its operating costs.

  6. stan haag

    US, WTO?


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The EU should be working with the United States to promote new technologies, not finding protectionist gimmicks to apply new duties to these products,"

    Pot, kettle. Sheesh.

  8. Andraž Levstik

    I sooo hope EU wins this one

    If it does it means we actually get more power... and finnaly start to well erode the stalemate that is the USA

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    trade organisations are not for our benefit.

    ... and its questionable whether the EU is either.

    I'm all for closer to ties to our european chums, but the "free market" is only free to stop the individual benefiting directly from globalisation.

    Remember CD Wow, who wanted to legally ship goods direct from the far east, they were stopped by EU cartel reps. Now we see questionable duty on goods, and the consumer is footing the bill, not surprise there then.

    DVD region coding, etc etc... the list goes on.

    Let the trade organisations argue, its over their profits, we (the consumer) are not invited.

  10. Matt



  11. Anonymous Coward


    The septics are barking up the WTO apple and pears again.

    Let the transatlantic flame wars begin.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you need it you love it

    The rest of the time you disregard it and insult it.

    Great Teacher Onizuka could tell the Japanese trade officials something about how to conduct business.

  13. Dave Bell

    So who actually makes the stuff?

    Is any of the hardware being argued about actually made in the USA or Japan?

  14. Steve

    Boo hoo, poor America.

    The EU seem to have a pretty good argument there. The US can bring all the lawyers they like, but they don't really stand a chance against EU bureaucracy. No-one does. Unfortunately, if the WTO side against the EU, the rest of Europe will probably ignore it while we toe the line.

    It's still astounding that the WTO keeps up this pretence of being independent when they are willing to listen to complaints from a country that's breaking thier rules.

  15. g e

    Knee jerk response?

    Are these knee jerk responses...

    America: Antigua, Plank, Eye

    or just the nice n simple

    Hey America! FUCK OFF.

    Not got anything against Japan mind you, I like Hiro Nakamura and my Wii :oD

  16. Perseus
    Paris Hilton

    Tut tut


    "I'll swap you this trade agreement in exchange for...ummm...tariff reduction!"


    "Ummm... Nope, nope, can't do that, sorry... But I'll... Swap you this VAT reduction forrrrr... errrrr..." *scratches head* "...a change to import agreement No. 5!"

    Etc etc

    Paris - because she sucks

  17. TeeCee Gold badge

    EU in protectionist tariff shocker!

    Other news: Sun comes up in morning. "Water is wet" say top scientists.

    Pictures in late edition.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You may remember a certain US President muttering the words "There is no Quid Pro Quo" when he refused to discuss climate change issues at the G8 meeting hosted in the UK by then PM Tony Blair.

    Having their cake and eating it is US Policy in every aspect of life.



  19. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    > Ye's WOT?

    If you can't eat your cake what's the point of having it?

    In fact if I were a huge US monopoly I would insist on eating my cake again and again. And I'd offer free updates to make sure the recipe is kept secret.

    How much has Europe paid the US for dud operating systems to go with this modern tech?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where does computer end - where does appliance start?

    Well, the EU does seem to have a point there. Consider this:

    Scenario #1:

    US manufactured coffee machine, imported into EU, payment of import duty for coffee machines.

    Scenario #2:

    US manufacturer of said coffee machine installs a tiny computer into said coffee machine for "Watch YouTube while you wait for your cup of coffee" feature, manufacturer declares said coffee machine now a personal computer with built-in coffee making feature when exporting to the EU, no duties are payable.

    Does this make sense? No, it doesn't. You might as well abandon classifying products altogether and declare just about everything to be a computer. With software more and more controlling what a certain appliance can do, there has to be some line where an apparatus ceases to be a computer and where it starts to be an appliance. Just where that line should be drawn should indeed be decided by the delegations who negotiate and upgrade such agreements, it can hardly be decided on blanket basis in advance.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Other News Just on Japanese TV NOW: US upset about launch of Japan Jetliner

    The Japanese just decided to enter the market for mid size mid range passenger jet aircraft. Mitsubishi will design and produce the new jet. The US is extremely pissed off about it because it means competition for Boeing. They had tried very hard to "talk" the Japanese out of it, but without success. So where are America's fair trade credentials in this particular case? Competition is great as long as you don't compete with us? I wish the Japanese luck and success with this and I hope they will kick Boeing's butt.

  22. Mike Crawshaw

    Honorable MPs???? @ FryMaster

    "I suspect most MPs get into politics out of a genuine desire to change their country for what they think is better"

    A-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA!!!! That's Funny!!!

    Most of them are there for the perks and their own personal glorification, and, of course, to avoid having to get a real job where they might have to do some real work. FFS, when they bother turning up to vote (check the voting records on TheyWorkForYou to see how many your MP attends - find me one with 90%+ attendance - most workplaces demand 95%+ - and I'll be suitably impressed. My MP managed 82%, which is above average) they're not even making the decision themselves - The Party makes it for them! Not exactly taxing, is it?

    Would you like a huge salary (currently c£62K I believe?), as many days off as you can fit in (2008 proposed Commons close is from 25/07 - 09/10, that's nearly 11 weeks, ladies & gents...just for summer holidays!), duties that can only be described as "light", a ridiculously-generous expenses system that allows you to pay for a 2nd home and everything in it that you fancy (plasma tv? top of the range computer equipment? replace the double-glazing with a nicer color?) and whatever else you like rather than buying it from your own money - up to an additional £23kpa, corporate "sponsorship", the ability to "employ" your family members at inflated salaries, and, above all, decide your own pay rises? When you get your hand caught in the cookie jar with the expenses, and you face having to justify them in future, demand a stupidly higher salary to compensate?

    The become an MP!!!!

    Note that I exclude (most) Independent MPs from this. They (the ones I've seen anything of) DO tend to try to make a difference. The problem is, of course, they don't have the collective power of The Party to do so.

    MPs in this country are (generally) the biggest set of self-serving, self-righteous, egomaniacal busy-bodies I have ever seen. At least in America (at Congressman/Senator level), they pretend to care what the public think of them.

  23. Steve Renouf

    @Well what a surprise? (not) @By Anonymous Coward

    "So, in order to keep MP expenses in the region of several hundreds of thousands of pounds (that is UKP)"


    it's GBP - I thought everyone here was supposed to be standards compliant?!?


  24. Craig McLean

    Protectionist is.. protectionist does. Fall on your swords, yankees.

  25. Vance P. Frickey

    What a load of dingo's kidneys....

    "But the EU says the contested products can be taxed because they include technologies and features developed after the accord was signed. It claims changes in technology make some products "objectively different" and fall outside the original product categories covered by the ITA. Extensions to the agreement should not be automatic, but based on periodic review."

    In other words, "we in the EU just feel like violating the agreement and our lawyers have ginned up this fancy rationale for doing so."

    As far as I'm concerned, this whole WTA business is a load of crap designed to make money for those who have too much of it already.

    Back to tariffs all the way around, I say. That way every nation can manufacture its own televisions, shoes, cameras, copiers and computers and what-all and employment at home increases. And Rick Shuttlesworth can have what he's wanted all along, a monopoly on operating systems within the EU.

  26. Tim99 Silver badge

    @Mike Crawshaw @frymaster

    Many years ago, my Dad gave me advice about politicians:-

    They are mostly in it for themselves. You, as a voter have the choice of voting for politicians who were selected by very small groups of people to look after their interests. It is easy to recognise these people. They either smoke cigars and drink spirits in a small smoky room at the back of the Rotary Club (Conservative); or they smoke fags and drink beer in a small smoky room at the back of the Working Man's Club (Labour). These politicians are venal and corrupt.

    Or you could vote for someone who has a burning desire to help people. These politicians are obsessive and very dangerous - They believe that "The End justifies the Means".

    My Dad was an un-elected official who made Sir Humphrey Appleby look like a bumbling amateur. He was firmly of the opinion that most people really don't want much change, they just want their little lives to be a little better. Now that I am older, I suspect he was right...

    Ref: Lord Acton - “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency of the certainty of corruption by authority."

  27. Mark

    This is the same US

    that have STILL NOT paid the WTO fines and restitution for illegal softwood lumber import taxes against Canada that propped up the US lumber business?

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