The European Commission has confirmed to AP that it is considering classing digital cameras as camcorders – a move that industry chiefs warn could make them more expensive.
In an interview with AP?s news editor Chris Cheesman, a European Commission spokesman confirmed: ?Discussions are taking place at EU level to determine where the borderline between ?digital cameras? and ?camcorders? lies. In other words, how much video can a camera record before the camera becomes a video camera.?
As we reported on Wednesday there are fears that re-classing digital still cameras as camcorders will mean European importers have to pay an import tax of up to 12.5% – forcing up high street prices.
Digital still cameras – currently exempt from import duty because they are classed as information technology products – could fall into the ?camcorder? category because many now include a facility to record short movie sequences.
The European Commission spokesman added: ?Due to technological progress, the video recording capability of digital cameras is constantly increasing and the photo function of camcorders improving.?
Among those fighting plans to re-class digital cameras is the UK-based Photo Imaging Council (PIC), whose members include major industry players such as Canon and Nikon.
Responding to the news Nikon?s group marketing manager Jeremy Gilbert told us: ?As an active member of PIC we are fully supportive of their initiative on this.?
Gilbert pointed out that this is an issue that affects the whole industry and said Nikon will be watching developments.
PIC warns that video cameras can attract a customs excise duty of between 4.9% and 12.5% when they enter European markets from a non-European country.
However, according to the European Commission, a camcorder only attracts an import duty of 12.5% if it can also record images direct from a television, in the same way as a video recorder.