New import tariffs resulting from a 15-year trade dispute between the United States and the European Union could impact certain types of photographs and prints. The tariffs, scheduled to go into effect on October 18th, will put an extra 25 percent tax on U.K. or German lithographs on paper or paperboard and pictures, designs, and photographs that were printed within the last 20 years. The duties also extend to printed books, brochures, leaflets, and single sheet printed matter from those countries. Import costs associated with the taxes could be passed on to buyers.
The tariffs stem from a World Trade Organization decision concerning EU subsidies to Airbus, the second largest aerospace company in the world behind Boeing. The WTO formally authorized the U.S. to impose up to $7.5 billion worth of tariffs on imports from the EU on Monday, clearing the way for the U.S. to tax 10 percent on Airbus planes and 25 percent on other products, including prints, cheese, and French wine. There is currently a pending case on U.S. subsidies to Boeing, which could result in retaliatory tariffs from the EU.
Of the impact of the tariffs, the Art Dealers Association of America told ARTnews:
Because the tariffs apply to lithographs and photographs printed in the last twenty years, they will also have a considerable impact on living artists, who rely on galleries as an important vehicle to sell their works and to foster cultural exchange. [. . .] Additionally problematic is the short time between the WTO’s decision and the tariffs’ enforcement, leaving small businesses little time to prepare and adapt.
The new tariffs on certain art objects being imported from Germany and the U.K. follow similar measures imposed earlier this year by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump to tax imports of Chinese-made art and antiquities.