MALAYSIA and Singapore consider the Philippine excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) a “successful fiscal policy intervention,” the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

In a statement Tuesday, Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said officials from Malaysia and Singapore have shown interest in studying how the country implemented the excise tax on SSBs under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

“During the meeting, the ASEAN Member-States recognized the passage of sweetened beverage tax as a successful fiscal policy intervention to achieve a healthier society in the ASEAN region,” Mr. Beltran was quoted as saying in the statement.

Based on 2018 sales data from Euromonitor, Mr. Beltran said imposing the excise tax has lowered the consumption of sweetened beverages by an average of 6.5%, while that of powdered concentrates declined 25%.

Implemented in January last year, the law imposed an excise tax of P6 per liter on drinks with caloric or non-caloric sweeteners and P12 per liter for those containing high-fructose corn syrup.

The ASEAN Interpillar Consultation Meeting for the Reformulation and Production of Healthy Food and Beverages was held in Indonesia in July, with delegates discussing the health challenges faced by ASEAN countries.

“In addressing this, the ASEAN Member-States have prioritized the reformulation and production of healthier food and beverage options as one of the key strategies to be implemented,” Mr. Beltran said. — Beatrice M. Laforga