Tax measures to reduce worldwide sugar consumption are promoted
24 enero 2018


Taxes. The World Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO), the businessman and philanthropist Michael R. Bloomberg and the former Secretary of the Treasury of the United States and former Director of the National Economic Council of the United States, Lawrence H. Summers, announced in mid-January the creation of a Working Group on fiscal policy for health.

The initiative will study how to reduce the sanitary impact of soft drinks by increasing tax burden. It is estimated that sugary drinks consumption is as harmful as alcohol or tobacco. It is also considered that the most efficient way to reduce such consumption is through taxing them.

The initiative is part of the “Bloomberg Philantropies” Foundation, which will convene international experts to generate scientific evidence to examine the relevance of tax policies to combat obesity. The studies will also address the barriers that prevented its implementation from happening.

In addition, the Task Force plans to make recommendations to countries that decide to carry them out to improve the health of their citizens and increase tax revenues.

At the time of announcing the creation of the working group, former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers highlighted the attempts to put tax increases on this type of products driven by Mexico and Colombia. He stressed that the regulation process is often hampered by the strong lobbying of the food industry.

With regards to the use of taxes, Summers stressed that there is a double advantage: they are efficient in limiting access and raise awareness among the population regarding the need to reduce those consumptions.

The Task Force, announced on January 18th, is made up of international benchmarks in public policy. Among its members are former US Treasury Secretary Masood Ahmed (president of the Center for Global Development), Margaret Chan (former director of the World Health Organization), Helen Clark (former UNDP administrator) and Minouche Shafik (director of the UNDP). London School of Economics).

Next steps:

Contributions from specialists in the field will be received to produce a document on the impact on regulatory matters in different countries. So far, there are no stipulated dates for the publication of such material.