Leica has found a solution to the Trump administration's 25% tax on goods produced in Germany: it is manufacturing lenses in Portugal.
The best Leica cameras are – presently, at least – still being manufactured at the company's factory in Wetzlar, Germany. As such, they are still subject to the 25% tax on German goods that was introduced by the United States in October.
However, while the German facility will – again, currently – continue to produce the bulk of its optics as usual, Leica has begun manufacturing nine lenses in neighboring European country Portugal. The new 'Made in Portugal' line consists of the following Summilux, Summicron and Elmarit glass:
• Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (black)
• Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (silver)
• Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (black-chrome)
• Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH (silver)
• Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH (black)
• Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/5.6 (silver)
• Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH
• Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 (black)
• Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH
These lenses are already available for pre-order to US customers at B&H, enabling Leica owners to purchase optics without an (even more) inflated price tag. And the retailer is keen to stress that the shift in production won't in any way affect the quality of the lenses.
"In an endeavor to diversify its supply chain, Leica is shifting production of select Leica M-series lenses to Portugal. It should be noted that this move does not affect the quality of workmanship of Leica products – all production standards and guidelines are being followed as before, only in a different location," said B&H.
"As a result of this move, prices for many popular Leica M lenses in the US will be considerably lower than their German-made counterparts, without any compromises in quality. For Leica enthusiasts here in the US, this is big news."
The retailer notes that the lenses will begin arriving between August and December. We can only imagine that more lenses, as well as Leica cameras, will follow suit before too long…