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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 August 2007, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
EU will retain light bulb tariff
Energy efficient light bulb
Two thirds of energy-saving bulbs are imported from China
The European Commission has decided to retain import tariffs on Chinese-made energy-efficient light bulbs for up to another 12 months.

The decision was made even though only one of Europe's four energy-efficient light bulb producers, Germany's Osram, had called for more time to adjust.

The tariffs, introduced to stop cheap Chinese imports entering Europe, can add up to 66% to the price of bulbs.

The tariff extension will require the majority backing by EU member states.

They now have a month to decide.

'Severe contradiction'

A Commission spokesman said the extension of anti-dumping duties was needed to give European bulb producers time to adjust.

"In the overall Community interest, there are grounds to leave the possibility to continue in these anti-dumping measures for up to another year, mainly to allow in a changing reality a soft transition," said Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger.

Osram's rivals, including the Netherland's Philips, which already makes bulbs in China, had wanted the duty cancelled.

Environmental group Worldwide Fund for Nature said the Commission was displaying a "severe contradiction" in extending the import tariffs at the same time as lecturing consumers on the need to save energy.

Replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones has long been hailed as a particularly effective way of reducing energy consumption.

Environmentalists say this would be easier to achieve if the tariffs were removed, since consumer would be more likely to buy energy-efficient bulbs if their price was lowered.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said: "This case has once again shown the complexities of managing antidumping rules in a global economy and against the broad range of EU interests."

Less than 20% of energy-saving bulbs on sale in Europe are made within the European Union, with more than two thirds imported from China.

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