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France to press ahead with soda tax

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France to press ahead with soda tax
12:04 CEST+02:00

Sugary drinks like Orangina and Coca-Cola will cost a bit extra from January 1st after budget minister Valérie Pécresse confirmed that a tax of 2 euro cents (2.7 US cents) will be slapped on every 33 centilitre can.

The announcement on Wednesday doubles the original proposal of a 1 cent tax and will raise €240 million for public coffers.

Diet drinks like Coke Zero will be exempt from the tax. Fruit juices and mineral waters will also be spared. The tax has been presented as both a revenue-raising measure and an attempt to combat growing obesity.

The initial news of the tax in September enraged soft drink manufacturers with Coca-Cola threatening to withdraw a €17 million investment in production facilities in the south of France. After ministers accused the company of "blackmail" it quickly backed down and confirmed the investment would go ahead.

Like many countries, France has a growing obesity problem. Latest figures give France an obesity rate of 14.5 percent, up from 8.5 percent in 1997.

The soda tax follows a new levy imposed by Denmark on foods with high fat content. The tax, which came into force on October 1st, increases the price of products by €2.15 per kilogram of saturated fat.

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