News stories about the EU tend to have a lot of acronyms and policy and legislative detail, and are easy to pass over in the daily media diet. But business leaders will pay close attention to the kind of news that came out of Geneva on Monday. The World Trade Organization effectively overruled the European Union's tariff policy on technology, a decision that addressed concerns raised by the US, Japan and Taiwan more than two years ago.

At issue was the classification of various kinds of technology, such as flat screen monitors, which the EU classified as consumer goods that were not exempt from duties.

The implications are clearly enormous for technology companies, and instructive for other sectors in understanding the EU and global regulatory culture. Next we wait and see if the EU will appeal, and how companies with a stake in this decision will respond, or not.

At one time, it seemed that the broader US community would be bound to pay closer attention to the EU and its potential to enable or disrupt business strategy. Critial mass may have been reached at the time of the would-be GE/Honeywell merger that never was thanks to a decision by European regulators in 2001. The US business community was shocked into understanding, in some ways for the first time, the implications of this complex entity. This latest news will offer a new angle on the extent of its powers.