French parliament reject lowering VAT on e-books

<p>The French National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, has thrown out an amendment to the 2011 draft budget to reduce VAT on e-books from 19.6% to the reduced rate of 5.5% that applies to print. <br /><br />The reason for the rejection is that the measure is not compatible with the European directive on books and digital content, according to the French trade weekly Livres Hebdo. Earlier, the Assembly&rsquo;s finance committee had dismissed the amendment for the same reason. <br /><br />But budget minister Fran&ccedil;ois Baroin said he endorsed the idea of the measure, as it would foster the development of legal e-book content, and that he would lobby his European Union (EU) colleagues to permit a lower rate. If France had adopted the cut without approval from other member states, it risked a fine from the European Commission, Baroin added. <br /><br />Presenting the amendment, rightwing majority member of parliament Michel Herbillon said the backers would introduce it again when the supplmemental budget is discussed at the beginning of next year. Herbillon was replacing Herv&eacute; Gaymard, who initiated the amendment. </p>