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News:

April 2, 2020

German camera and photo industry suffers from dispute over Airbus subsidies

In the conflict between the United States and the European Union over subsidies for the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, the US Trade Representative's office announced further increases and new punitive tariffs in mid-February 2020. These came into into effect in mid-March and also affect German suppliers camera and photo technology. According to the German Industry Association for Optics, Photonics, Analysis and Medical Technology e.V., Spectaris, lenses from Germany have been subject to penalty duties of 25 percent in addition to the normal US import duties since October 18, 2019.


The effects for German manufacturers and their position in the very important US market are devastating, the association said. “The only goal of the US punitive tariffs is to weaken the market position of the German camera and photo technology industry in the important US market, and also against its competitors from other EU member states, because these are currently not affected by the punitive tariffs,” said Jörg Mayer, Managing Director of Spectaris. Lenses from other EU member states such as Austria, France or Portugal are currently not subject to punitive tariffs on imports into the United States. Thanks to the trade agreement between the United States and Japan, lenses from Japan have even been imported into the United States duty-free since January 1, 2020. “If the customs spiral continues, production relocations could result," added Mayer. "We therefore ask the German government to finally work for a quick negotiated solution at European level.”

With exports worth around Euro 269 million, the USA is only second to China among the most important export markets for the German camera and photo technology industry. According to Spectaris, German manufacturers currently hold an average market share in the USA of twelve percent, and some companies generate between 15 and 20 percent of their export earnings in the United States.

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