The Finnish company owes the Romanian state USD 10 M.
The National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) has impounded the production halls operated by Nokia in Jucu, Cluj County, in an attempt to recover unpaid customs taxes worth USD 10 M.
“Impounding measures have been set in place, under the fiscal procedure code. Such measures are decided when there is the risk that the debtor will estrange or disseminate its assets,” ANAF president Sorin Blejnar said on Realitatea TV. “In 2009, we started a control that ended these days,” Blejnar mentioned. “The measures will not hamper the activity of the company,” he added. According to the ANAF official, the impounding measure targets office and production facilities covering 28,000 square meters of land.
“They benefited from a regime of transforming certain products under customs control. The products should have come as spare parts, and the cable, transformer and the other components were to be assembled at the Romanian plant, in order to be exempted from the customs tax. However, Nokia brought the products already assembled, and only moved them to other boxes, without processing them,” ANAF vice-president Viorel Comanita explained.
According to Comanita, Nokia thus infringed the provisions of European Union regulations that grant customs tax exemptions only for the important components that are subsequently assembled in countries of the EU, so they cannot be returned to their initial form.
Nokia sought customs tax exemptions for several components imported from countries like China, Taiwan or the USA, which were later sold without any modification. Telephone chargers and batteries are such examples. In his turn, Marius Nicoara, senator and the former Cluj County Council president that negotiated with the Finnish company its arrival to Romania, said that the Romanian state granted no incentive to Nokia.
Nokia Romania officials say the company is analysing the situation and will collaborate with authorities in order to find a satisfactory solution to this issue.
Nokia launched the production of cell phones at Jucu in February 2008, with an investment of EUR 60 M in the factory. At the end of September this year, the Finnish group decided to close the Jucu facility (Cluj County) as part of a programme aimed at increasing efficiency and cutting costs. The closing procedures are due to last until the end of the year and 2,200 employees are to lose their jobs.