September 2, 2002
Chirac to back "globalisation tax" talks
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - French President Jacques Chirac will urge world leaders to launch talks on a new international tax to fight
world poverty, sources with him at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg say.
The sources said Chirac rejected the existing "Tobin Tax" proposal to raise levies purely on foreign exchange transactions but would call in
a speech to the summit for discussion on a wider tax on wealth generated by globalisation.
"It could be a tax on airplane tickets, on carbon dioxide, on health products sold in industrialised countries, and indeed on international
financial transactions," one source said.
"The idea of wanting to hold back a small share (of global wealth) to relieve poverty is not a mad idea at all. But the debate has been
polluted by the campaign on the Tobin Tax," the same source added.
The Tobin Tax, championed by non-governmental groups as a way both to raise funds and to deter financial speculation, attracted much
interest particularly in Europe last year but since appears to have fallen out of favour.
European officials have noted possible problems with the tax, proposed by U.S. Nobel Prize winner James Tobin in the 1970s. One is that
financial markets would simply move to those countries that chose not to apply the tax.
World leaders began arriving at the World Summit on Sustainable Development on Monday hoping to settle differences over an action plan
to end what South African President Thabo Mbeki called "global apartheid" between rich and poor.
The sources close to Chirac, who was due to speak in Johannesburg around midday local time (11 a.m. British time) on Monday, pointed to
studies suggesting global development aid would have to be doubled to around $100 billion (64 billion pounds) to really fight poverty.