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President taking time to think about sweetened beverages tax law

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: (Siim Lõvi /ERR)

President Kersti Kaljulaid gave her assent to 27 laws on Thursday. One that didn’t make the list was the government’s bill passed by the Riigikogu on Monday to introduce a tax on sugary drinks: the president will take time to consider it.

Spokesman for the president, Taavi Linnamäe, told BNS on Thursday that the president carefully deliberated every law before signing it. She would announce her decision within the time period the law grants the president, Linnamäe said.

The tax has been subject of plenty of harsh criticism, with analyses calling it both unconstitutional and against European Union rules. Several interest groups have apparently turned to Kaljulaid with the request that the president don’t promulgate it.

The bill was passed into law by the Riigikogu on Monday with 52 votes in favor and 37 against. The tax will apply to all sweet drinks that contain at least 5 g of sugar per 100 ml.

Though the government has said it does not want to levy the same tax on natural fruit juices and dairy-based drinks, an exception would have to be granted by the European Commission in order to exempt those two product types from the law.

The Food Industry Association, the Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry all sent a letter to the president, asking her not to promulgate the law as unconstitutional and processed in neglect of good legislative practice.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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