EU to hit some digital cameras with import duty

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Some top-end digital cameras entering the European Union could become more expensive after trade experts decided their advanced video functions meant they should be classed as video recorders, which attract import duties.

Digital cameras are imported into the 27-nation EU tariff-free but video recorders are subject to duties starting at 4.9 percent.

The Tokyo-based Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA), whose members include Nikon Corp, Canon Inc, and Sony Corp, has previously said it was concerned about a possible EU customs duty on digital cameras.

In 2006, shipments of Japanese digital cameras to Europe were worth about $5 billion.

An EU official said on Tuesday the change was unlikely to affect cameras sold to ordinary consumers as it related to the more expensive models that have very good video recording capability.

The EU trade experts decided last Friday that to be classified as a digital camera, equipment must not be able to record at least 30 minutes of a single sequence of video in a quality of 800 x 600 pixels or higher at 23 frames per second or higher.

Some camcorders that fall short of those specifications could enter the EU duty-free in future, the EU official said.

The European Commission is likely to formally adopt the decision of the EU trade experts within two or three months.