A new tax on financial transactions is set to launch in France in August, and could generate billions of dollars to help fund the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
“We want to create additional innovative financing instruments. This is the aim of the tax on financial transactions which my country has decided to implement from 1 August, 2012,” said French President Francois Hollande, who spoke via pre-recorded video message at the plenary session of the International AIDS Conference in Washington Monday.
“At the G20 and Rio Summits, I proposed to extend this tax across Europe and the world so as to be able to contribute new sums to the fight against AIDS,” Hollande said.
To get an idea of the revenue and effect this tax could generate, UNITAID – an organization, funded by taxes on plane tickets, works to provide HIV/AIDS medicines and diagnostics at discounted prices and funds the treatment of eight out of ten children being treated for HIV/AIDS around the world – released a report in 2011 regarding the feasibility of implementing such a tax and detailing how to implement FTTs, using France as the example country.
The report “recommends implementing an FTT design similar to the UK Stamp Duty,
and applying it to bonds [including other securities like shares, and exchange-traded funds] and derivatives transactions. At low rates, such a tax is estimated to generate over 12 billion euros [approximately $15 billion] annually in a country like France,” according to the executive summary.
“Like similar FTTs in other countries, the FTT proposed here is unlikely to have a significant negative impact on the domestic financial markets of the countries who implement it.” Taiwan has implemented a similar tax on futures transactions.
Hollande reminded the audience at AIDS 2012 that France is already the second largest financial contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – after the United States – and recommitted his country’s commitment to helping reach 15 million people on HIV treatment by 2015.