Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chop sticks and boat shows

China has announced a new luxury tax aimed both at conserving timber and narrowing the gap between rich and poor. As the People's Daily reports, a 5% tax will be charged on disposable wooden chopsticks. In these bird flu/SARS nervy times, this may be seen as a retrograde step by many although there is clearly something to be said for preserving 1.3 million cubic metres of timber a year.

Of more significance to the business events world is the targeting of yachts, golf balls, golf clubs and 'luxury watches' with a special 10 - 20% luxury tax. That will be a significant blow to those who have been setting up events like the Shanghai Boat Show and trying to introduce international brands into watch and jewellery events. It will also be a filip to Hong Kong which (for the time being at least) still imposes no duties and no sales taxes on these products. Even more than now, savvy mainland buyers will window shop in China and buy in Hong Kong.

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