Consumers and the photography trade are expected to widely condemn the EU following its controversial decision on digital camera import duty that could mean some models become more expensive.

The EU has decided that digital compact cameras with advanced video functions should be classed as video cameras and therefore carry an import duty, according to a Reuters press report which is yet to be confirmed by Amateur Photographer (AP) magazine.

UK photo industry chiefs warned last year that the European Commission was discussing ‘plans’ to reclassify digital compacts as ‘camcorders’ – potentially subjecting them to an import duty as high as 12.5%.

Video cameras are understood to attract a customs excise duty of at least 4.9% when they enter European markets from a non-European country.

Digital still cameras are currently exempt from import duty because they are classed as ‘information technology products’, according to the UK-based Photo Imaging Council (PIC) which fought against the move to reclassify them.

Speaking last year a PIC spokeswoman said: ‘At present, no digital cameras are manufactured inside the European Union so consumers in Europe will have to pay much more for digital cameras in the future.’

The EU?s 27 member states are understood to have reached their decision last Friday (13 July 2007).

No-one from PIC was available for comment when AP contacted the trade body this afternoon.

According to Reuters, to be classed as a digital camera ? and not a camcorder ? equipment ?must not be able to record at least 30 minutes of a single sequence of video in a quality of ?800×600 pixels or higher at 23 frames per second or higher?.

The duty could be introduced within two or three months, adds the report.

AP will bring more news on this as soon as we receive further details.

For our previous coverage of this click below:

Duty could raise prices

import tax threat

Panasonic in EU dilemma