Saeima approves sweet sodapop tax from 2022

On Thursday, February 6, the Saeima in its third final reading approved amendments to the Excise Duty Law, which will increase excise tax rates for sweetened soft drinks from 2022.

The amendments stipulate that the rate of duty per 100 liters of soft drink will be 7.40 euros if the sugar content is up to eight grams per 100 ml of drink. If the amount of sugar is above eight grams per 100 milliliters of beverage, the rate for such a drink will be 14 euros per 100 liters. 

For non-alcoholic beverages containing other sweeteners, the excise duty rate will also be 7.40 euros per 100 liters of beverage. 

The changes to the law are intended to encourage citizens to reduce their daily intake of high-sugar non-alcoholic drinks, as high-sugar, high-salt and saturated fat diets present a major health hazard t in society as a whole, the authors of the proposal said. 

Amendments to the law require the government to prepare and submit to the Saeima an informative report on the impact of changes in the tax rate on beverage manufacturers by 2024, as well as an assessment of the health effects of sweeteners replacing sugars in beverages. 

During consideration of the amendments, the Ministry of Finance emphasized that any changes in tax rates should be seen in the context of the common tax policy. It was also noted that in some cases the rate increase for sweetened drinks would result in a higher tax on them than on certain alcoholic beverages such as beer.

The vote on the amendments was carried by 88 votes to 1, with the sole opponent being independent deputy Aldis Gobzems.


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