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MEPs cut import tax on high-tech goods

Starting next month, import tax on over 200 high-tech products will be phased out.

The European Parliament voted in favour of the deal struck with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) late last year, to waive customs duties on certain devices.

High-tech items such as GPS navigation systems, TV screens, video games consoles, medical imaging machines and telecoms satellites will no longer be accompanied by high trade tariffs.

The changes will be realised gradually, with cuts starting July 1 and expected to take full effect by July 2019.

The WTO deal, which had been struck by the EU and 24 other countries including China, Australia, South Korea, Japan and the US, was reliant on approval from the European Parliament in order to go forward.

It was expected that the proposition would pass through, and the decision came at 529 votes in favour, with 110 oppositions and 37 abstentions.

German MEP Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl said: “Through the revision and expansion of the Information Technology Agreement, now the new generation of modern IT products can also benefit from customs facilitation,”

He continued: “This is an important milestone for the WTO, and Europe was the driving force for it. European companies are protected by these global trade facilitation measures from unfair competition.”

It is estimated that EU exporters will gain between €5 billion and €8.3 billion as a result.

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