EU urged to scrap light bulb duties

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The Independent Online

Retailers are urging the EU to reject a move which will force consumers to cont-inue paying more for energy-efficient light bulbs. EU Commissioners are meeting today to decide if Eur-ope will scrap import duties on low-energy light bulbs from China, which add 66 per cent to the dockside price of the bulbs.

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the duties were introduced in 2002 in response to claims by major European bulb makers that China was selling them into the EU at below-cost price. The BRC believes the duty should be scrapped as it is "blatant protectionism which shields inefficient European manufacturers at the expense of customers and the environment". It is calling on the EU to scrap the duty to help Europe meet its target to reduce energy use by 20 per cent by 2020.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "Eur-ope is currently pushing up prices through unjustifiable import taxes. The Commission needs to put the environment before the narrow self-interests of a minority of member countries and scrap import duties on Chinese bulbs."