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EU revokes tariff increase on premium women's jeans from the US

27 Mar 2014


The European Union has decided to revoke the additional 26 percent tariff it introduced last year May against the imports of premium womens denim made in the US. From May 1, the EU import duty will decline from 38 percent to 12.5 percent, as the EU approved of the tariff reduction earlier

this week.

The decrease of import tax will undoubtedly be good for the Californian garment industry, which currently produced roughly 75 percent of premium made in the US denim. The tariff hike was previously introduced in retaliation for the Byrd Amendment (a law which allowed the US to impose additional duties on undervalued imports),

despite the World Trade Organization ruling against it in 2002. The duties previously collected are still being handed out as precondition legal procedures are completed.

In response the WTO has allowed each country to be affected to raise its tariff on items imported from the US in direct relation to the amount of AD or CV duties on the items from said country which were distributed over the previous year. Then when the distribution of duties collected on US imports from the EU grew in 2012, so did the amount of US export the EU could target, which ultimately led to Brussels adding premium womens denim to the retaliation list.

EU reverses increased import tax on women's jeans made in the US

However, since the adding premium womens denim to the list back in 2013, the distribution amount for 2013 has reduced by nearly 50 percent, which led the EU to lower its additional tariffs on women's jeans and other affected items. The additional 26 percent tariff may still be imposed next year, depending on decisions from the EU.

To help fight against the imposed tariff a number of premium denim manufacturers took on international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, to help find a legal way around the new tariff increase.

Last December the firm helped Hudson Jeans win a ruling from the UK's customs and tax department, which exempted its women's blue jeans from the European tariff increase. ST&R attorney Elise Shibles argued that certain jeans do not fall within the legal definition of denim with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, and cannot be subject to the higher duties because the dye used to make them is not colorfast. The women's pants were classified as cotton pants, which only carry a 12 percent tariff.

The other 27 EU member states have accepted this ruling and have been adhering to the new classification of the women's pants, while a number of US premium denim manufacturers has been filing paper work to reclassify their womens jean and receive refunds from the additional tariff.

Photos: Hudson Jeans FW 13 ad, Chriselle Lim in Hudson

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