Criteria for the Customs Tariff Classification of MODEMS

In a Court case of Nov 22nd 2012, the EUCJ has considered that  the capacity to access to internet (and not the technique used for this purpose )  is the pertinent criteria for the customs tarif classification of Modems.

To do so the  judge did not try and give a definition (which might reveal restrictive) of what is a Modem but searched, in the existing EU legal environment if such a definition of « what is a Modem ? » already existed.

The judge finally based his decision on the definition of a Modem as given by the provisions of the international ATI agreement .

The judge has been careful when indicating that the provisions of such an agreement do not though create any rights for the individuals (hence preventing them to try and use them directly in Court as per the EU law). It is indeed clear that when some EU law exists in the domain concerned, the primacy of international agreements signed by the EU over the legal texts derived therefrom imposes to interprete these -inasmuch as possible- in the light of the said international agreements.

This EUCJ decision confirms and specifies the terms of the April 2011 British Sky Broadcasting Court decision.