Iceland's high court upholds 76% tax on imported chips

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image caption,
With potatoes selling at 270kr per kilo ($2.60; £1.90) in Iceland, it's probably cheaper to make your own chips

The highest court in Iceland has upheld a ruling that the government can charge a 76% import charge on chips, it's reported.

Iceland's Supreme Court dismissed a claim this week by two foodstuffs importers, Innes and Hager, who claimed that the whopping tariff on french fries "contradicted basic concepts of equality and proportion," the Reykjavik Grapevine news website reports.

According to the country's national broadcaster RUV, the companies had claimed 100 million Icelandic krona ($971,000; £700,000) against taxes already paid, arguing that the tariff shouldn't be any higher than the 46% levied on potatoes imported from Canada and Peru.

They also said that the government toll was motivated by protectionism surrounding Icelandic agriculture, Iceland Review reports.

However, the justices saw things differently, upholding decisions made by lower courts that the tax on chips was within the limits set by the country's constitution.

Furthermore, the court pointed out that it doesn't have the power to set taxes, a responsibility which falls solely on the government and its officials.

To add to the companies' disappointment, they were also ordered to chip in for part of the government's legal costs.

Reporting by Alistair Coleman

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