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Thursday, March 23, 2006

China slaps tax on chopsticks

China will tax wooden chopsticks, golf balls and the yachts of the country's nouveau riche as part of an ambitious plan to slash energy consumption and combat worsening pollution in the world's fastest growing economy.

The new taxes, which come into force on 1 April, are aimed at boosting the use of environmentally friendy small-engined cars and motorcycles while slapping hefty new levies on luxury items such as gas-guzzling four-wheel drive vehicles and flashy watches.

The tax on chopsticks will come as a shock to a nation which uses them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and where many people have never used a knife and fork. The Chinese use 45 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year, which adds up to 1.7 million cubic metres of timber or 25 million fully grown trees.

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