EU levy reduces camera choices

Courtesy of The IBC Daily

The EU’s anti-dumping levy on Japanese cameras, which is currently being considered for renewal and possible extension, is actively restricting broadcasters’ camera choice, according to Hitachi. Two of
its new products launched at IBC – a low-cost 14-bit widescreen
switchable camera and a digital SD triax claimed to offer the longest
transmission length and highest quality available – can only be sold to
non-EU countries.

“We’ve been very good boys for 15 years. We have
the lowest duty rate of any [of the Japanese] manufacturers, because
we’ve kept to the rules, but even so, we have a 67% duty rate placed on
camera systems above a certain level,” complained Paddy Roache,
director and general manager, Hitachi UK.

“The impact,
unfortunately, has increased with the growth of the EU heading towards
30 countries. This is becoming the world’s biggest market and to have
one company seeking to restrict free trade in that market doesn’t seem
right,” Roache added. “We have a whole series of studio TV cameras and
systems that we’ve never even tried to release in Europe.”

If the
most recent submissions by Thomson about dumping are upheld, the levy
could be applied to many more cameras. However Grass Valley insists
that whatever results from this will not be as widespread as its
competitors make out – especially as it doesn’t have products in areas
like stand-alone camcorders or consumer cameras, so there could hardly
be unfair competition.

“We believe some of our competitors are
jumping to conclusions and speculating. We would ask everyone to
respect the process,” said Jeff Rosica, senior VP, worldwide marketing
and technology, Grass Valley.
Thomson has found “problematic
behaviours” still exist in the broadcast market. But, for the levy to
be renewed or extended, there has to be proof of dumping, damage, and
anti-competitive behaviour. The only reason the investigation is so
wide is that the EU has to have the ability to look at the wider
implications. “Everybody has their chance to make their position known
and their facts known,” added Rosica. The EU is expected to make a
decision next year.