French President Seeks World Leaders’ Support for International Airline Ticket Tax To Finance Global HIV/AIDS Fight
French President Jacques Chirac on Monday sent a letter to about 145 world leaders asking for support on his proposal to require an international tax on airline tickets to help fund the global fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, Reuters AlertNet reports (Reuters AlertNet, 7/26). Chirac first announced the idea in January at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He also suggested taxes on international financial transactions, aviation and maritime fuel, or capital movements in and out of countries that practice banking secrecy (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/8). The airline tax would be a surcharge on tickets issued to passengers departing from airports in countries participating in the program. In the letter, Chirac said the tax would be simple to impose and economically neutral and would take countries' economic status into account. "It would be a first step, the lessons of which would make it possible to embark on larger-scale actions," the letter says. Chirac said he wants the proposal to be discussed at the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting, scheduled to take place in New York City in September (AFP/USA Today, 7/27). U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this month expressed support for the proposal, saying a $1 to $2 additional charge per ticket would provide a constant source of supplementary income for the fight instead of requiring additional aid from the governments that already have made large contributions to the cause (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/8). Several countries -- including Algeria, Brazil, Chile, Germany and Spain -- also have expressed support for the proposal (AFP/USA Today, 7/27).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.