Trade groups rip EU for preserving VAT

Industry exex: Regulators not seeing cultural importance of pix, music

BRUSSELS — Europe’s film trade orgs have joined the music and video industries in condemning last week’s European Union decision not to cut taxes on CDs, videocassettes and DVDs, and vowed to continue their campaign against high levies.

Industry execs accused regulators of failing to realize the cultural importance of film and music. Other cultural products are subject to lower rates of value-added tax.

“The European Commission clearly missed an opportunity to demonstrate true commitment to promoting European culture and to creating more opportunities for a wider range of European films to be offered to Europe’s consumers,” said Rasmus Ramstad, chairman of the European Film Companies Alliance and prexy of Nordic producer-distrib Svensk Filmindustri.

Banding together

EFCA, which counts producers like France’s Pathe and Germany’s CLT/Ufa among its members, is one of the organizations in the Video VAT Coalition, formed by European audiovisual orgs to lobby the EU to reduce tax on CDs and vids.

The coalition said it was deeply disappointed by the EU’s move, arguing that it penalizes parts of the European population, especially young people, whose main access to cinema culture is often through video.

Other influential bodies involved in the coalition are film and TV producers association Eurocinema, the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers and film producers body the Intl. Federation of Film Producers’ Assns.

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