` France Cuts Proposed Tax Hike on Palm Oil - Olive Oil Times

France Cuts Proposed Tax Hike on Palm Oil

Mar. 22, 2016
Alice Alech

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In January, the French Senate voted to apply what has been called a bio­di­ver­sity sur­tax on imports of crude palm oil. Pressure from envi­ron­men­tal­ists con­cerned about huge areas of rain forests being turned into palm oil plan­ta­tions caused mem­bers to approve the pro­gres­sive import tax. Had it been passed it would have raised taxes from €100 per ton to €300 ($326) in 2017, €500 in 2018, €700 in 2019 and €900 in 2020.

Indonesia and Malaysia, the main exporters of palm oil to France, described the tax as unfair. In Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) said the French imposed a dis­crim­i­na­tory tax on one of the devel­op­ing world’s key exports. The tax has been passed by a vote of MPs in the National Assembly, despite hav­ing no eco­nomic or envi­ron­men­tal cred­i­bil­ity,” it said in a state­ment.

The two coun­tries joined efforts to suc­cess­fully lobby France, and this week the National Assembly approved the levy of a grad­ual sur­tax start­ing at only €30 euros ($34) in 2017 on top of the exist­ing €104 exist­ing levy.

The new reduced levy is set to increase by €20 per year to €90 by 2020, just one-tenth of the first sur­tax levy.

Palm oil is high in sat­u­rated fats but much less taxed than other oils such as olive oil which is taxed at €190. The French con­sume approx­i­mately 126,000 tons of this rel­a­tively cheap com­mod­ity in an array of food prod­ucts.

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This is the third time since 2012 that palm oil has come up for review in par­lia­ment. Triggering strong reac­tion in France was a story involv­ing French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal who in July 2015 said she would like to see French peo­ple stop eat­ing Nutella because the prod­uct was destroy­ing the planet, warn­ing cit­i­zens that they should be more vig­i­lant about envi­ron­men­tal issues.

She was refer­ring to the Italian prod­uct that the French love — a hazel­nut spread French chil­dren have on bread for break­fast or their after school snacks. Nutella is 17 per­cent palm oil and 55 per­cent sugar — not entirely healthy — yet it seduces 26 per­cent of French peo­ple. Royal pointed to the masses of trees that had to be replanted because of defor­esta­tion which leads to cli­mate change.

Past pro­pos­als on tax regard­ing palm oils were dubbed by the French media as the Nutella Tax because of the enor­mous pop­u­lar­ity of the hazel­nut spread.

On hear­ing about Royal’s remark, The Italian Environment Minister said she should leave Italian prod­ucts alone.” When Ferrero, the com­pany that makes Nutella, refuted her com­ments say­ing that it used sus­tain­ably sourced palm oil, the min­is­ter tweeted on her offi­cial account A thou­sand apolo­gies for the row over Nutella.”

The war on palm oil con­tin­ues as Greenpeace pro­test­ers took action against Bolloré head­quar­ters in the north of France in February. Bolloré is a share­holder in a Belgium com­pany that man­ages palm oil and rub­ber in Asia and Africa. The 100-square-meter ban­ner dis­played by pro­test­ers read Bolloré, hard affairs not kind to the forests.”



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