Taxes on sugar and sugar products were boosted by 83 percent on January 1, and by 42.3 percent on soft drinks and other alcohol-free drinks. The idea was to reduce consumption of sugar, but now some politicians worry the higher taxes will simply encourage more Norwegians to do their shopping in neighbouring Sweden.
“We can already see that this tax is hurting Norwegian industry and threatening Norwegian jobs, while there’s been huge growth on the Swedish side,” Center Party leader Trygve Slagsvold Vedum told newspaper Nationen this week.
His party, which traditionally supports Norwegian agriculture and the country’s subsidies and tariff protection for farmers, is already upset about the large numbers of Norwegians who continue to drive over the border to shop in Sweden, where most all food and other products are much cheaper than in Norway. Higher prices for candy and cola at their local markets, he fears, will only make shopping trips to Sweden even more attractive.
Jørgen Næsje, a state secretary in the finance ministry for the Progress Party, admitted that the higher sugar taxes can lead to increased border trade, but he claimed consumption of products containing sugar has declined in line with intentions.