'Tobacco tax' may hit businesses in Bahrain
Manama, May 18, 2014
Bahrain may lose more than BD100 million ($265 million) every year if a controversial move to triple 'tobacco tax' is implemented, said a report.
Most hit by the planned increase of 100 per cent to 300 per cent in import duties will be coffee shops, duty free and the wider retail sector, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication, citing the kingdom's businessmen.
Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) member Khalid Al Ameen stressed the need to strike a balance between the interests of traders and state treasury.
He also urged authorities to study the US and European experience in balancing health concerns with fiscal impacts.
BCCI member and MP Abdulhakeem Al Shimmari, meanwhile, also rejected Big Tobacco's interference in Bahrain's internal affairs.
His comments follow reported threats by international tobacco companies to sue the kingdom over the plans to triple levies.
They claimed the move violated the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Bahrain has signed with the US.
Al Shimmari also urged authorities to pull out of the FTA if it led to such interference.
Directors and dealers of tobacco companies reportedly met in Bahrain earlier in the presence of a visiting US Trade Department official to discuss the planned increase in taxes.-TradeArabia News Service