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Internal Market

PR(08)18: Reasoned opinion delivered to Norway due to discriminatory taxation of beverage packaging

16.4.2008

Today, the EFTA Surveillance Authority delivered a reasoned opinion to Norway regarding the discriminatory taxation of imported non-refillable beverage packaging.

The EEA Agreement forbids the EFTA States to tax the products originating from other EEA States differently from those produced in the EFTA State in question.

The Norwegian system for taxation of beverage packaging consists of two elements: first, a general environmental tax (miljøavgift) that is applicable to all beverage packaging, and secondly, a so-called base tax (grunnavgift), which is levied only on beverage packaging which is not reusable in its original form. Norway has not provided documentation confirming that re-use is more environmentally friendly than recycling.

In its reasoned opinion, the Authority concludes that the base tax constitutes discriminatory internal taxation as imported beverages are de facto taxed more heavily than similar or competing domestic products. Protection is thus afforded to domestic production of soft drinks and water. In accordance with the case law of the European Court of Justice, a pursuit of an environmental objective does not relieve a State from its duty to observe the rule of non-discrimination laid down in Article 14 EEA.

The purpose of a reasoned opinion is to give the State in question a last chance to take corrective measures before the Authority decides whether to bring the matter before the EFTA Court. Norway has been given two months to take the measures necessary to comply with the reasoned opinion.

 

For further information, please contact:


Mr. Hallgrímur Ásgeirsson, Director, Internal Market Affairs
tel.: (+32)(0)2 286 18 60

Ms. Tuula Nieminen, Deputy Director, Internal Market Affairs
tel.: (+32)(0)2 286 18 67

 

16 April 2008




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