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A European politician wants purchase tax to be scrapped on all goods delivered over the Net.

Speaking last night, Liberal Democrat MEP Diana Wallis called for the European Parliament to back her bid to encourage e-commerce.

The European Commission has published proposals to impose VAT (Value Added Tax) on goods delivered digitally - items such as software and music - from non-EU companies.

The EC wants to try to close the competitive gap that has arisen between EU and non-EU businesses.

But the European Liberal Democrats want the tax scrapped instead. "A tax on e-commerce does not encourage growth of trade over the Internet," said Wallis.

"There is a competition gap between EU firms and US companies, but rather than levy a tax on businesses
importing to Europe, why not scrap the EU tax altogether?" she said.

In her speech to the European Parliament last night, Ms Wallis said the Commission's proposals were too complex and would be difficult to implement and enforce.

"I was always told that one of the first rules or principles as a legislator is do not make law that you cannot enforce," he said.

"This proposal might on the face of it be about the taxation of non-EU business, but what it is actually about is how we encourage and nurture Europe's e-economy. It is a very fragile flower," she said.

Wallis is the Liberal Democrat's spokeswoman on the Internet. She recently won assurances that the EC was to investigate whether Britain's email snooping law - RIP - breached European law. ®

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