After a 15-year-long dispute, The World Trade Organization approved that the United States can impose trade sanctions on some products from the EU. The US is about to apply $7.5 billion in punitive tariffs on the EU products. Among other things, it will affect German camera lenses, making them 25% more expensive.
If you’d like to read the ruling in complicated legal language, you can find it here. But in essence, the World Trade Organization ruled that the French company Airbus has received significant subsidies in the European Union over the years. This created unfair business practices that affected the sale of Boeing, its US competitor (thank you Capture Integration for simplifying it).
The rule notes, in short, that the USA can impose tariffs on products that violated the WTO’s rules and take countermeasures against the EU and those products. The verdict was brought last week, and the US imposing a 10% tariff (over $7.5 Billion) on Airbus imports starting today.
Other than the 10% tariff, some products originating from the EU will be subject to additional import duties. This is where it gets interesting (and sad) for photographers. This list provides all the items from Spain, Germany, UK, and France which will be subject to additional tariffs. Apparently, German camera lenses, parts, and accessories fall within this category, too.
It’s worth noting that the US distributors of German lenses will pay an extra 25% to their current duties of these products, according to Capture Integration. Consequently, the retail price of these lenses and accessories will increase by at least 25% affecting you, the buyer.
The US will most likely enact a 25% tax soon to all German-manufactured lens and lens accessories. This will affect the (already pricey) lenses from Leica, Zeiss, and Rodenstock. However, it could also affect some cameras with fixed lenses from these manufacturers (like Leica Q or C-Lux). Additionally, it could affect all gadgets that include German lenses, such as the Typhoon H3 drone.
I believe that it’s also worth noting that imported photos will be subject to the 25% price increase, too. An article on Artsy mentions it, and indeed, you can find it in the list I linked above. The 25% tariffs will apply to all “pictures, designs and photographs, excluding lithographs on paper or paperboard, printed not over 20 years at time of importation” from the UK and Germany.