Donald Trumped: Leica skirts Germany tax by making lenses in Portugal

Donald Trumped: Leica skirts Germany tax by making lenses in Portugal
(Image credit: B&H)

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

The 9 Leica lenses that are now made in Portugal, to circumvent the US' 25% tax on German goods (Image credit: B&H)

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…

Read more: 

The best Leica cameras: from classic rangefinders to modern mirrorless
Leica M10-R review
Leica SL2 review

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.