EU shelves plan to levy new taxes on multifunctional cell phones

July 7, 2009

Last week, Reuters reported that the European Union's Customs Code Committee had shelved its controversial plan to levy new taxes on "multifunctional" cell phones.

Under consideration since March 2009, the proposal would have levied a 3.7 percent tax on GPS-equipped handsets and a percent tax on mobile phones equipped with TV receivers. Instead, a majority of member countries voted to leave cell phones duty-free — a status they've had since 1996.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson, who between them manufacture almost half the mobile phones in use worldwide, had been active opponents of the proposal.

"We need more products and businesses free of tariffs, not less, and therefore today's decision and the backing that was achieved is a very positive signal," said Swedish Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling in a statement.

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