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Thursday, December 20, 2007
EU Receives Complaint Over Gadgets Levy

The European Commission has received a complaint that a disputed levy on electronic gadgets to compensate for private copying of music distorts the EU's internal market, a top official at the bloc's executive said.

Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said on Wednesday that the complaint was made to Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen but had no further details.

"Verheugen's services have received a formal complaint on the way the levy is applied to create obstacles to the free movement of goods," McCreevy told the European Parliament's legal affairs committee.

"I intend to come back to this debate in 2008, having learnt from previous experience," McCreevy said.

McCreevy was forced to abandon his proposal to reform the levy on blank CDs, MP3 players, printers and other gadgets in 2006. The levy varies enormously across the 20 EU states that apply it. Britain and Ireland have no levy at all.

The tax at import level is often passed on to consumers and raised 560 million euros ($806.7 million) in 2005.

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