Sugar tax to be proposed to cabinet

Sugar tax to be proposed to cabinet

A message saying drinking water is unavailable is on refrigerators at a convenience store. The National Reform Steering Assembly voted on Tuesday on the sugar tax to keep people more healthy. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
A message saying drinking water is unavailable is on refrigerators at a convenience store. The National Reform Steering Assembly voted on Tuesday on the sugar tax to keep people more healthy. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Soft drinks will likely be 20-25% more expensive if the cabinet approves the sugar tax rates proposed by reform councillors.

The National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) voted Tuesday to table the so-called sugar tax for cabinet consideration for better public health and larger state revenue.

The resolution was backed with 153 votes against two with six abstentions and will be proposed to the cabinet later.

The assembly's committee on health and environmental reform proposed the excise tax on beverages with unhealthy sugar levels — more than six grammes per 100 millilitres. By the definition, carbonated drinks, green tea, coffee, energy drinks, sour milk, soy milk and juices will be taxed.

Two rates of the excise tax were proposed based on different sugar levels.

Drinks with more than 6g to 10g per 100ml of sugar would be subject to a rate that would raise their retail prices by at least 20%. Those with more than 10g of sugar would see their prices at least 25% higher.

The change was aimed at discouraging Thais from consuming too much sugar.

At present, Thais rank ninth worldwide in sugar consumption, increasing risks of obesity, hypertension and heart diseases and other illnesses that add to the state's burden, according to a report from the NRSA's health and environmental reform committee.

It stated that most local beverages contained more than 6g of sugar per 100ml and the proposed tax would increase national income by more than 10 billion baht a year.

The NRSA would also ask the Interior Ministry to regulate lucky-draw marketing campaigns by sugary beverage manufacturers to further reduce sugar intake.


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