Malaysia and Indonesia, world’s two biggest producers of palm oil, have condemned the vote in the French National Assembly to impose a discriminatory tax on palm oil imported from these countries. This tax imposition was in violation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Union rules. Passed as part of the Biodiversity Bill the imposition was a progressive one on crude palm oil and its derivatives, starting at €30 per tonne in 2017 and rising by €20 a year to €90 in 2020, rather than at a flat rate of €90 as originally proposed. Earlier in the year, there was an attempt to place a € 300 tax. The new tax adds to an existing tax of €104 per tonne. The affected countries feel that the tax imposed is discriminatory and disproportionate as the economic and environmental arguments were false. The claim that palm oil is ‘under-taxed’ in France is factually and materially wrong. Palm oil is already overtaxed compared with other vegetable oils.
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