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Jahnátek floats higher tax on wine

SLOVAK viticulture needs financial support, but that is not possible for now, since Slovakia does not have the finances to set aside for wine producers, Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek has said, as reported by the SITA newswire.

SLOVAK viticulture needs financial support, but that is not possible for now, since Slovakia does not have the finances to set aside for wine producers, Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek has said, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Slovakia imports 60 percent of all the wine consumed here and Slovak winemakers are losing out on price despite the quality of their wine being good, Jahnátek stated. He claimed that imported wines are of much lower quality.

To remedy the situation, he is proposing an increase in the excise tax on all wines.

“I do not want to speculate now on the percentage, but let’s say a 10-percent excise tax would be introduced that importers will also have to pay,” Jahnátek said, as quoted by SITA. “For the 40 percent of domestic wines, meaning wine produced from grapes grown in Slovakia, the 10 percent would be returned through some state-aid instrument.”

The Ministry of Agriculture could find ways to return the excise tax collected from domestic producers, perhaps via vineyard revitalisation projects, the minister suggested.

Taxes levied on imported wines would go towards the state budget.

The minister said he was not concerned about a decline in wine sales following an increase in the excise tax because, he said, consumers would not be able to avoid it. Nor does he fear that Slovaks will react by becoming more abstemious.

“We have raised the excise tax on beer and hard liquor any number of times and people are still drinking,” he stated, as quoted by SITA.

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