Tariffs that will affect you, the photographer
Less than two weeks ago the World Trade Organization ruled, through arbitration, that the French company Airbus has, over the years, received significant subsidies in the European Union creating unfair business practices that effectively blocked the sale of its US competitor, Boeing. This now ends one of the longest disputes in the history of the WTO dating as far back as 1994. Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act states that the winner of the arbitration has the ability, at its own discretion, to impose tariffs on products that violated the WTO’s rules and take countermeasures against the European Union and the offending products. Thus the United States is preparing to impose a 10% tariff equating to over $7.5 Billion on Airbus imports beginning October 18th.
If you would like to read the ruling it is here: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/316arb_e.pdf
Our blog is the simplified version of difficult to find articles describing the possible new tariffs that will actually begin being levied this Friday. You may ask “why is a small US photography company discussing complicated international trade policy?” Because this decision essentially gives the current administration the authority to retaliate at the European Union and not just Airbus, but at any country and its imports that they deem as threats against “US competition.” It is not clear that our administration believes that the following products impose threats to its US counterparts. What is clear is that it intends to make a major impact on the strong exports of EU countries with what is called the “carousel” approach to tariffs. Furthermore, these carrousel tariffs will be increased to 25% on the following goods:
- British Woolen products
- British, German, Irish, Italian, and Spanish Liquor
- European cheeses and wines over 14% alcohol
- European pork products
But again, how does this affect photographers? Because located at the bottom of HTS subheading 9002.11.90 is the following product line:
German objective lenses and parts & access. thereof, for cameras, projectors, or photographic enlargers or reducers, except projection
Yes, in only 4 days our country will possibly enact a 25% tax, to you the consumer, for any German manufactured lens, or product that has or uses a German lens as a part of its whole. Importantly, the manufacturer’s pricing to the US will stay the same. It is not the EU manufacturer that will pay any of these taxes. It is the US distributor of these products to the United States that will pay an extra 25% to their current duties of these products. And these tariffs will then be added on to the current price of the US product accordingly and be absorbed directly by the US consumer.
What products will this affect? We believe that lenses made by Leica, Zeiss, and Rodenstock will have a direct increase. Possibly bodies with fixed German lenses like the Leica Q2 or V-Lux. But we truly do not know and we are puzzled that no one has discussed or mentioned this in any report that we can find online.
We reached out to our European manufacturers. Very few were even aware of the impending issue. Please stay in touch with us for any more information that this article stirs in our marketplace. We will update it and you with anything we hear in the upcoming days.