The European Union broke global trade laws by imposing import duties on $11 billion of high-tech electronic goods such as computer monitors, the World Trade Organization ruled on Monday (August 16), backing a complaint by the U.S. and Japan.
The two governments and Taiwan said the EU is undermining a 1996 deal to scrap tariffs worldwide on technology goods by arguing that some new products fall outside the scope of the agreement. They complained at the Geneva-based WTO in May 2008 and, after failing to resolve the spat in the ensuing weeks, asked the trade arbiter to rule on the case three months later.
The dispute concerns the Information Technology Agreement, which requires WTO members to give duty-free treatment to imports of information-technology goods. The case against the EU involves computer monitors, cable converter boxes and multifunction printers.
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