Is It a Watch? Is It a Phone?

      March 18, 2015 12:24

      Is the Samsung Galaxy Gear a watch or a mobile phone? The World Customs Organization put the matter to vote.

      The WCO's Harmonized System Committee met in Belgium earlier this week, and 31 out of 40 member nations voted Monday to classify the Galaxy Gear as a mobile phone, while eight voted to classify it as a watch.

      The move is expected to give Samsung tax benefits in exporting the product overseas. The decision will be implemented if there are no further objections from member countries by the end of May.

      The WCO also voted to classify Apple's iWatch and Sony's SmartWatch as mobile phones.

      Most countries already class the Galaxy Gear as a mobile phone and do not levy tariffs according to World Trade Organization standards, but India and Turkey regarded it as a watch and charged 10 percent and four percent tariffs.

      An official at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said, "Although the WCO's decisions are non-binding, most member nations follow them."

      Samsung is expected to benefit from around US$13 million a year in tariff cuts, the official added.

      This is not the first time there has been a debate over the purpose of a digital device. Until 2008, some EU member countries classified mobile phones with digital media broadcast functions as TVs and levied 14 percent tariffs.

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