Tallink: Shippers won’t buy soft drinks in Estonia if sugar tax introduced

At a price of €1.20 a bottle, the consumer would pay 79 cents for the soft drinks, 30 cents sugar tax, and a 10-cent deposit on the bottle. Source: (Tagne Orav/ERR)

President Kersti Kaljulaid sent a law introducing a tax on sugary drinks back to the Riigikogu on Monday. According to the Ministry of Finance, the law will be discussed again in the autumn budget round. Meanwhile Tallink Duty Free has announced that they will no longer buy soft drinks in Estonia if the tax really comes.

Kaljulaid sent the law back to parliament because of an exemption it set out for shipping companies. While the sugar tax once in force would apply to all soft drinks on the Estonian market, all those products in this specific category sold on airplanes and ships would be exempt.

This went against the principle of equal treatment, Kaljulaid said, which is why she questioned the law’s constitutionality.

According to Tallink Duty Free’s director, Aimar Pärna, the shipping companies usually get their supplies in the country in their area with the lowest prices and taxes. If soft drinks should now suddenly become a lot more expensive because of the sugar tax, companies would buy soft drinks elsewhere, daily Postimees wrote on Wednesday.

In that case it would be the Estonian producers and other companies in the value-added chain in Estonia who sell their soft drinks on ships and airplanes.

“In addition to the ships operating on the regular routes, the cruise ships that visit Tallinn also stock up in Estonia,” Pärna said, adding that this could all be lost if the exemption for the shippers was removed from the law.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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