Siemens: bribery, embezzlement, and lightbulbs

What on earth is going on with Siemens, one of the world largest electrical and telecommunications companies? On January 24th the company was fined €396.6 million (about $500 million) for illegal price fixing.

Siemens is also under investigation both in Europe and the U.S. for embezzlement, tax evasion, and a €420m ($543m) bribery scandal. Arrest warrants have been issued for current and former employees.

Now Siemens has created another public relations disaster for itself.

While Europe’s leaders were last week urging householders to fit energy-efficient light bulbs, several governments were busy attempting to block moves to cut their price.

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 [emphasis added].

From Financial Times.

There is obviously no need for politicians to strengthen regulations against conventional lightbulbs. Just get rid of the duty.


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