Wed, Dec 09, 2009 - Page 6 News List

France seeking to assist developing world with new tax


France is pushing for a political agreement at the climate conference in Copenhagen to include a tax on financial transactions to assist the developing world, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Monday.

Kouchner said a very small tax — 0.005 percent on financial transactions — would help developing countries fight poverty, promote education and health and meet the costs of combatting climate change.

Such a tax on all financial movements would be “impossible to feel,” he said, explaining that it produces just US$0.05 “on a movement of a thousand dollars, a thousand euros.”

Kouchner told reporters after meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that France has been working on the tax idea for a year and hosted a conference in Paris in October with 59 countries as well as financial and economic experts to put together a proposal.

He conceded there is some opposition, even in liberal countries, but he predicted “all the people of the world will accept this kind of contribution.”

“It will be done, believe me, it will be done. I don’t know when. But I know that we [have] to rebalance the responsibility and the sufferings in this world,” Kouchner said.

“If it comes through this conference it will be a big, big, big, big benefit,” he said.

The secretary-general expressed hope that the French proposal “will be discussed in Copenhagen as a way to generate financial support in addition to public fundings to be provided by the governments.”

Kouchner said France is also pressing for the creation of a World Environment Organization with a mandate to monitor and verify the commitments made in Copenhagen on reducing carbon emissions.

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