Spectaris demands an end to punitive tariffs on German camera and photographic technology on the US market
Trade conflict between USA and EU
Since October 18, 2019, lenses from Germany have been subject to a 25 percent penalty on top of the normal US import duties. The consequences for German manufacturers and their position in the very important US market are devastating, explains the Photonics Association in the industry association Spectaris.
The duties are part of the conflict between the USA and the European Union over subsidies for the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, which is being further fuelled: In mid-February, the office of the US Trade Representative announced further increases and new punitive tariffs. These now came into force in mid-March.
Spectaris wants a quick negotiated solution
"The sole purpose of the US punitive tariffs is to weaken the market position of the German camera and photographic technology industry in the important US market, including vis-à-vis its competitors from other EU member states, as these are not currently affected by the punitive tariffs. If the tariff spiral continues, production could be relocated as a result. We are therefore calling on German politicians to finally commit themselves to a quick negotiated solution at the European level," emphasizes Spectaris CEO Jörg Mayer.
After China, the USA is the most important export market for the German camera and photo technology industry with exports amounting to around 269 million euros. The average market share in the USA is currently twelve percent. For individual companies, the export share to the USA is even between 15 and 20 percent.
The penalty tariffs of 25 percent imposed since October 18, 2019 only apply to lenses originating in Germany. Lenses from other EU member states such as Austria, France or Portugal are currently not subject to punitive duties when imported into the United States. Thanks to the trade agreement between the USA and Japan, lenses from Japan can even be imported into the USA duty-free since January 1, 2020. This further weakens the market position of German camera and photo technology manufacturers in the USA, says Spectaris.