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France adopts watered-down palm oil tax

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Staff writer ▼ | March 22, 2016
French MPs have approved an additional tax on palm oil. But sustainably-produced oil and imports for biofuels will be exempt from the tax, EurActiv France reports.
Palm oil
Important measure   Ending the advantageous tax rate
France has increased the tax on palm oil imports, amid heated protests from big producing countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

This tax, proposed as part of the biodiversity bill, was definitively adopted, ending the advantageous tax rate that the product had previously enjoyed.

The growth of palm oil plantations in tropical countries has played a major role in deforestation and the loss of biodiversity. But this sector is vital for the economic survival of several developing countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

And the cultivation of palm oil plantations is booming. Global production of palm oil and other palm-derived products currently stands at around 50 million tonnes per year, and is set to double by 2030.

In a significantly watered-down compromise, French MPs agreed to bring the tax on palm oil into line with that already applied to olive oil and other vegetable oils. The initial Senate proposal had been to impose a rate three times higher.

MPs also decided to grant an exemption to “sustainable” palm oil producers, despite the fact that the certification process is unreliable and lacks credibility.

The secretary of state said that the French government was currently producing an “action plan” aimed at “guaranteeing the reliable labelling of sustainable palm oil”.