Tobin tax not harmful if applied correctly-Italy bank lobby

PRATO Sat Oct 13, 2012 9:32am EDT

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PRATO Italy - Oct 13 (Reuters) - Italy's banking association chief said on Saturday a planned financial transaction tax, a so-called Tobin-tax, that Rome and 10 other euro zone countries are due to adopt in the future would not damage the country's lenders.

If everyone applies the tax correctly, it would not cause any specific damage, said Giuseppe Mussari, the Italian Banking Association's (ABI) president, on the sidelines of a conference in Prato.

"Europe is marching steadily towards this measure. It has to be applied with a supranational approach and with attention."

The initiative has been pushed hard by Germany and France but strongly opposed by Britain, Sweden and others. Critics say it could distort the EU's single market by giving financial companies incentives to shift business to European centres where the tax is not levied - or away from Europe altogether.

According to a European Commission proposal the levy is set to be 0.1 percent on bond and stock trades and 0.01 percent for derivatives deals.

The head of Assosim, an association of 80 Italian financial institutions, said on Thursday that based on a similar levy already in force in France, annual revenues would likely be no more than around 1 billion euros in Italy.

Details on how the tax would work are still sketchy, and it may take two years before the necessary legislation is in place.

(Reporting by Silvia Ognibene; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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