A European summit agreed to toughen regulations against old-fashioned incandescent bulbs by 2009 as part of a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions. But earlier in the week officials from trade ministries rebuffed attempts by the European Commission to end five-year-old surcharges on imports of energy-efficient bulbs from China.
The 66 per cent duty was imposed in 2002 after European manufacturers complained of dumping by the Chinese. It expires in October but Siemens of Germany, which owns the Osram brand, is pushing for an extension. The other big makers, Philips of the Netherlands, which pays a 33 per cent tariff, and GE of the US, disagree. Ending the duty would cut prices to the level of conventional bulbs.