[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Electronics
and the Netherlands have been embroiled in years of trade disputes over 10 million euros (US$12 million) of tariffs the Korean tech giant paid for its multi-function printers.
According to Korea Economic Daily on May 1, the Dutch customs office last month refused a tax refund and Samsung is preparing to fight back with a new lawsuit.
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The dispute dates back to 2008 when countries, including the US, Japan and Taiwan, filed a complaint with the WTO against EU’s tariffs on multi-function printers in violation of the Information Technology Agreement that bans such levies for IT products such as chips, computer hardware and network equipment since 1997.
Despite the ITA, some EU countries levied a tariff of 6 percent on multi-function printers, saying they have functions of analogue copiers. But exporting countries like the US opposed the tariffs, claiming the printers only work when they are connected to computers.
In 2011, the WTO ordered EU to revise the rules and lift the tariffs.
Following the decision, Samsung asked the Dutch government to offer a refund on tariffs it paid before 2011. At the time, the company exported its printer products to Europe through the Netherlands.
But the Dutch customs office denied the request and since then their dispute has continued.
In the meantime, Samsung announced in September last year it was selling its printer business division to HP Inc. in a US$1.05 billion deal. The company spun off the division in November last year to finalize the sale by July this year.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org