gold necklace

Prague dismisses EC’s criticism of Czech jewelry hallmark rules

The European Court of Justice ruled that the Czech Republic must allow other jewlery hallmarks into the country

Prague/Brussels, July 10 (ČTK) The Czech Hallmark Office today dismissed the European Commission’s (EC) criticism of the Czech jewelry hallmark rules, which the EU challenged at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over their alleged violation of the right to the free movement of goods.

The EC says the violation rests in the Czech requirement that jewels imported from other EU countries also have a Czech hallmark, apart from the original one.

In May 2013, the EC asked Prague to change the relevant legislation, but the Czech authorities refused to do so. The EC has now turned to the ECJ.

In a press release today, the EC points to a previous case when the Czech Hallmark Office refused to recognize Dutch hallmarks, arguing that they did not enable to ascertain whether the jewels were made in or outside the EU, in China or Hong Kong, for example.

“We still insist on being right,” Czech Hallmark Office chairman Martin Novotný told ČTK today.

He said the Dutch do not supervise the Chinese-made jewels sufficiently.

“Simply, there is a Chinese plant with a single Dutch staffer watching whether they do it appropriately,” Novotný pointed out.

The EC, nevertheless, says that regardless the jewels’ origin, the EU’s free movement principle applies to them once they were admitted by an EU country.

The Czech Hallmark Office reiterated that it has nothing against the Dutch hallmarks, but it seeks a chance of distinguishing between the origin of goods.

Novotný said the Office will address its counterparts in other EU countries and ask them to side with Prague in the dispute.

The ECJ, nevertheless, decided in a Lithuania-related case in January that the EU states cannot require a new hallmarking of jewels imported from another EU country where they were hallmarked and put on the market in accordance with law.

A condition, however, is that the [original] hallmark data be equal with the hallmark data required by the importing country and comprehensible to its inhabitants, the ECJ said.

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