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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (silver) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH (black-chrome) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH (silver) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summicron-M 35mm f/2 ASPH (black) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/5.6 (silver) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summicron-M 28mm f/2 ASPH (opens in new tab)
• Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 (black) (opens in new tab)
• Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f/2.8 ASPH (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab).

"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 (opens in new tab)
Leica M10-R review (opens in new tab)
Leica SL2 review (opens in new tab)

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web 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 as diverse as 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, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). 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.