Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Swiss govt to 'intervene in response to new Chinese luxury watch tax

The Swiss economy ministry intends 'to intervene in the coming days at several levels' in response to China's decision to slap a 20 pct sales tax on luxury watches, a major export for the alpine country, HandelsZeitiung reported citing a spokesman for the ministry.

'The economy ministry sees China's new 20 pct tax on luxury watches as discrimination against Switzerland, because 99.6 pct of imported luxury watches in China originate in Switzerland,' spokesman Christophe Hans is quoted by the paper as saying.

The government will not refer the issue to the World Trade Organisation, although there would be grounds to do so, Hans added. The new tax has been in place since April 1.

Swiss watchmakers include Swatch Group AG and Compagnie Financiere Richemont AG, and booming sales in China have been a major growth driver in recent years.

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