Mexico ruling party ready to back higher junk food tax -lawmaker

MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) – Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is ready to support an opposition proposal to increase a planned tax on junk food, the party’s leader in the Senate said yesterday.

Last week, the lower house of Congress approved a planned fiscal reform containing a measure to impose a 5 percent tax on junk food, and the Senate is expected to approve the reform by the end of the month.

Earlier this week Armando Rios Piter, a finance expert from the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) in the Senate, proposed increasing the rate on the junk food tax to 8 percent.

Asked whether the PRI could back a higher junk food tax, which also aims to reduce high levels of obesity in Mexico, the party’s Senate leader Emilio Gamboa told Reuters: “The PRI will undoubtedly support it.”

He noted that the finance committee of the Senate still had to approve the fiscal bill, which is a key plank of a wider reform agenda spanning energy to telecommunications that President Enrique Pena Nieto hopes will boost growth in Latin America’s No.2 economy.Rios Piter estimates that an 8 percent tax would bring in 5.6 billion pesos ($431.90 million) in revenue, versus around 3.5 billion pesos under a 5 percent rate.

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