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Portugal to bring in sugar tax

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Portugal to bring in sugar tax

Portugal to bring in sugar tax
October 18
08:51 2016

Portugal has become the latest country to introduce a tax on sugary soft drinks, as its Government unveiled plans to bring in the levy next year.

While plans for a sugar tax were announced in last week’s Budget here in Ireland, it will be several years before it takes effect.

The Portuguese sugar tax will see the price of a 330ml can of soft drink rise by around 5.5 cents. The move is expected to raise around €80 million a year, most of which will be invested in public health.

The Iberian state follows the example of countries like France, Mexico and Hungary. They will soon be followed by the likes of the UK and South Africa, although there has been heavy opposition to their plans from the drinks industry.

The move comes just a few days after the World Health Organisation urged a tax on sugary drinks after a new report suggested raising prices by 20% or more results in lower consumption and “improved nutrition”.

The Portuguese Association of Soft Drinks opposes the proposed new tax, and says developments in food standards and reformulations to reduce sugar in soft drinks would be a better option.

They said: “We are committed to reduce the calorie content of soft drinks between 2013 and 2020, at least 25 percent. By the end of 2015 we have reduced 10.7 percent. This is an effective contribution to the reduction of calories in the diet of the Portuguese, but it should be noted that the consumption of soft drinks is only 2 percent of calories ingested by the Portuguese.

“The establishment of a special tax on soft drinks will lead to the transfer of consumption to cheaper brands which will have adverse effects for the national productive sector, since 85 percent of the volume of the manufacturer brands is produced in Portugal, while only 25 percent of the volume of private labels (cheaper) is of domestic origin.”

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