The octroi de mer tax applicable in the French outermost regions is in principle levied both on goods imported to those regions as well as on locally produced goods. The scheme provides for reductions of the octroi de mer tax for a specific list of products produced locally in the French outermost regions. The Commission considered that the scheme promotes the development of the outermost regions of Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique, Mayotte and La Réunion without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: "The French outermost regions are located several thousands of kilometres from the home market in mainland Europe. As a result, companies producing local products in these outermost regions face significant additional costs. The aid provided under the octroi de mer scheme will contribute to regional development in line with EU rules."
All outermost regions, including the French ones, have been granted special regional aid status in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Articles 349 and 107(3)(a) TFEU). The Commission recognises the serious nature of the structural disadvantages that the companies located in these regions face. Under the regional aid guidelines, operating aid can be authorised to compensate for additional costs attributable to one or several of the permanent disadvantages referred to in the Treaty.
The more than 800 products that will benefit from the reduced tax are all local products (listed in full in the annex to Council Decision 940/2014/EU authorising this scheme under EU taxation rules for the period 2015-2020). The Council Decision also specifies the maximum tax reduction that France may grant for each product. France has quantified in detail the additional costs incurred by companies in these regions for each product. Those additional costs relate, for example, to the very small size of the markets, to their remoteness or to supply difficulties. The Commission concluded that the aid granted will not exceed what is necessary in order to compensate for those additional costs, and that it is proportionate, in line with EU rules.
The tax scheme will be in force until the end of 2020. The French authorities will carry out an evaluation of the effectiveness of the scheme by the end of 2017.
This decision will be made available under the case number SA.46899 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website, once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. The electronic newsletter "State aid Weekly e-News" lists the most recent state aid decisions published in the Official Journal and on the website.