Crockery tax is here to stay
We told you last year about the EU’s snap decision to impose a crockery tax on imported ceramics from China, adding 58.8% to the base cost of these products when imported to any EU member state, including the UK. The rationale behind the levy was to promote free and fair trade within the EU, and naturally, super-cheap Chinese prices meant no producers within the EU could compete.
Yesterday, the EU voted to extend the levy until 2018. The UK was opposed to the levy initially but abstained in the vote yesterday, muich to the displeasure of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) who described the charge as “still wrong”.
The net result is that most crockery consumers will continue to pay more for their plates and bowls in the name of making things fairer. In volume terms, 80 per cent of all the EU's imports of ceramic tableware (€730 million) come from China.
Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General said: "These charges shouldn't have been imposed and they should not be kept. 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. It's an avoidable inflationary pressure that is entirely unjustified.”
The duties were originally imposed following an investigation by the Commission into claims that Chinese producers are selling into the EU at artificially low prices. Claims made by European ceramic producers, naturally. However, the new decision amends the rate of duty, falling from over 58% down to a piffling 36% or less.
The BRC are thoroughly disgusted with the decision, as the British ceramic retail industry will also fall foul of the levy, claiming crockery tax is just the latest in a long line of random EU targets, including ironing boards, bicycles and candles.
Still, so long as it’s fair now.