jueves, 11 de septiembre de 2014 – 10 de septiembre de 2014 – Arabia Saudita

Delay in tobacco tax hike irks GCC health ministers

The Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) health ministers have expressed concern at the delay in raising taxes on all imported and locally produced tobacco products, which is aimed at reducing consumption and attendant health costs for local economies.

Tewfik Khoja, director general of the executive office of the GCC Health Ministers’ Council, said the ministers had decided to ask the GCC secretariat to speed up the taxation procedures. This should be done with due consideration for two member countries, Bahrain and Oman, who signed bilateral free trade agreements, and taking into account the GCC’s relations with the World Trade Organization, Khoja said in a statement recently. He said a decision is expected shortly on the issue, which falls outside the health ministers’ ambit and rests with the GCC’s finance and legislative ministries. He said the decision should be taken quickly because the tax is aimed at protecting the health of citizens and the GCC economies, an online daily reported.

Khoja said higher taxes have been proven to be one of the most effective means to reduce tobacco consumption.

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