EU kills Polish consumer electronics industry

29-09-2008, 11:44

There will be no duty for imports of LCD panels for the next five years. This will destroy the industry of LCD panels and television sets in Poland. This will also discourage CMO and AUO which are planning huge projects.

The TV industry in Poland means 16,600 direct jobs (and 41,500 jobs altogether) and at least PLN 2bn (EUR 596m) of investment. 30m LCD and PDP TV sets come from Poland while the EU needs 45m annually. But the investors may withdraw and TV plants may change into storage houses.

“At the beginning of September, the European Commission decided that unless an objection from a producer is submitted till the end of the month, the suspension from duty on the imports of LCD panels will be prolonged for five years”, Stefan Kaminski, the CEO of the national chamber of electronics and telecommunication KIGEiT said.

Korean LG Display had submitted such an application last week.

“It’s not certain whether this objection will be taken into account”, Edward Madej from the ministry of economy said.

“I cannot reveal data concerning internal procedures within the Commission”, Bernd Oehler from TAXUD said.

According to “PB” sources, the TAXUD representatives said that the application came too late because the deadline was August 31st. This means that in January 2009, a five-year-long suspension will be implemented. Poland may raise its objection in March-April and there is still a chance that the duties will appear in 2010. It will be much harder to get approval from the Commission than it is now when the suspension period is about to end, however. Poland is the biggest TV producer in EU, it has three companies producing LCD panels. Four more companies are considering to do the same, including Videocon, TPV, AOC and CMO. AOC and CMO, one of the leading LCD panel producers in the world, consider to launch plants producing glass sandwich. These projects are worth billions of zloty. Now, with the tax policy not protecting European producers, they may decide not to invest at all.

(PLN 1 = EUR 0.298)

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