The European Commission has proposed that EU ministers approve an application from France to extend the right to reduce the rate of excise duty in France to traditional rum from the French overseas departments of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and Guyane.

The application is for a further seven years.

The existing permission expires at the end of this year and Paris wants it to run until December 2009. According to the proposal, the rate may not be less than 50% of the standard national duty on spirits, (currently Euro1,449.79 (US$1,224.42) per hectolitre of pure alcohol), and would also be limited to an annual quota of 90,000hl of pure alcohol.