PARIS Oct 27 France's National Assembly on
Thursday rejected the latest move to introduce an additional
levy on palm oil, the widely used food and cosmetics ingredient
that has been blamed for encouraging deforestation and posing
Green party lawmakers in the lower house of parliament
failed to win support from government or main opposition parties
for an amendment to the 2017 budget bill that would have applied
an extra tax of 300 euros ($328) per tonne in 2017, that would
have risen progressively to 900 euros in 2020 and be further
increased each year from 2021.
Crude palm oil is quoted at between $700 and $750 a tonne on
the European market. In France, the current tax on palm oil is
104 euros a tonne.
French politicians have made several attempts to create a
special levy on palm oil, currently among the least taxed
vegetable oils in France. Some food manufacturers have removed
the ingredient and labelled products as being palm oil-free.
Palm oil is favoured by food and cosmetics manufacturers due
to its relatively low cost and chemical properties - it is solid
when cold - and top producing countries Indonesia and Malaysia
have lobbied against possible tax increases in France.
Such proposals were previously dubbed a "Nutella tax" in the
French media because of the popular spread made by Italian group
Ferrero that uses palm oil as one of its main ingredients.
The French government has said it would propose by February
a new scheme to harmonise taxes on vegetable oils and include an
exemption for those that are sustainably produced.
Ferrero says all of the palm oil it uses is certified as
($1 = 0.9159 euros)
(Reporting by Emile Picy, writing by Sybille de La Hamaide;
Editing by Bate Felix/Jeremy Gaunt)