By: Sybille de La Hamaide
Date: 23 June 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
France's National Assembly on Wednesday scrapped plans for an additional tax on palm oil, which had raised an outcry in major producing countries, after the government said it would propose a new tax scheme for vegetable oils used in food.
The world's two largest palm oil producers, Indonesia and Malaysia, had said the tax, which aimed at encouraging the sector to reduce the environmental damage palm oil plantations can cause, was discriminatory and against international trade rules.
The government proposed a last-minute amendment, which states the State will put forward a new scheme within six month after the law's promulgation this summer, to harmonise taxes on vegetable oils and include a tax exemption for sustainable oils based on "objective criteria".
Palm oil is one of the less taxed vegetable oils in France.
The main reason for the government's move was a legal uncertainty around the initial tax which was focusing only one type of vegetable oil and containing a tax exemption based on sustainability criteria that were not clearly identified, France's Secretary of State Barbara Pompili told Parliament.