The Finnish government’s plan to adopt a tax on plastic packaging would give foreign online retailers an unfair competitive advantage over their Finnish rivals, says the Finnish Commerce Federation. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

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THE FINNISH COMMERCE FEDERATION has expressed its strong reservations about a tax on plastic packaging proposed by the government of Prime Minister Antti Rinne (SDP).

The Finnish government has promised to thoroughly explore the possibilities to use tax policy to promote the transition towards a circular economy by the framework budget session scheduled for the first half of next year.

The measures identified in the government programme include introducing a broad tax on packaging made from non-renewable natural resources, introducing a tax on energy and carbon dioxide emissions from waste incineration and raising the tax on landfill waste. The objective is that the revisions to the tax system come into effect in 2021.

The Finnish Commerce Federation on Friday reminded that a national plastic packaging tax would exclusively target companies operating, providing employment and paying taxes in Finland. The tax, as a result, would provide foreign online retailers an unfair competitive advantage over their Finnish rivals, explained senior policy advisor Marja Ola.

Finland, she pointed out, has already created a packaging producer responsibility system that affects companies that pack or import packed products and have annual net sales of at least one million euros.

Such companies are responsible for covering all costs arising from the collection and recycling of the packaging waste they generate. The so-called recycling fees vary depending on how easy the packaging is to recycle.

“The recycling fees paid by the companies are used to fund the collection, recycling and consumer instructions related to packaging,” said Ola.

“As the packaging producer responsibility system currently does not affect foreign online retailers, Finnish companies also have to pay for the collection and recycling of the packages of products bought from foreign online shops. This freeloading must be addressed sooner rather than later,” she underscored.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi