New EU tile tax to push up prices
The duties of between 30 and 70 per cent affect the dockside price paid by importers. They will apply across the whole of the EU, including the UK, for an initial nine months but could then be in place for five years. Up to seven per cent of ceramic tiles on the European market are of Chinese origin. Increasing their cost will remove the competitive pressure on the makers of more expensive tiles to keep their prices down.
The EU's Anti-Dumping Committee has given the go-ahead to the new rates because it claims the imported tiles are unfair competition for European tile manufacturers. The BRC opposes all such taxes because they go against the principle of free trade. The duties push shop prices up for consumers and cut into retailers' narrow margins.
British Retail Consortium Director General Stephen Robertson said: "Free trade is good for customers. It's infuriating the EU persists with protectionism, which pushes shop prices up.
"The EU talks about the benefits of free trade but, yet again, does exactly the opposite. Just now, the last thing customers need is another, bureaucratically-driven, source of inflation.
"While we welcome the news that the taxes on shoes from China and Vietnam will be lifted from the end of this month – something the BRC has been campaigning for vigorously – it's galling to see that this new tax on ceramic tiles will simply shift the burden from one part of the British consumer's budget to another.
"When the UK housing market is faltering and many families are choosing to improve their current home instead of moving, this is extra cost is particularly harmful. The BRC will continue to press for the swift removal of these unfair taxes."
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