New tax rate on artemia imports hurts shrimp breeding industry

VietNamNet Bridge - Artermia egg importers have complained that if they have to pay 5 percent import tax arrears, they will be pushed into a corner, while farmers will suffer the most.

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Artemia egg importers and shrimp breeder producers have lodged a complaint to the Prime Minister about the imposition of the 5 percent import duty which they say will harm the shrimp breeding industry.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) have also said the tax rate is unreasonable. 

Some shrimp breeder production units which are members of the Binh Thuan provincial Shrimp Breeder Association, the Binh Thuan shrimp breeder brand, the best one in Vietnam, is under threat because of declining quality. Artemia, the best shrimp feed product, has to bear the high import tax of 5 percent but the other feed products have only zero percent.

An importer said that Artermia is priced at VND2-3.5 million per kilo. If the 5 percent tax rate is applied, the price will increase, thus pushing up the production cost. This will force businesses to use other normal feed products instead.

A representative of Thong Thuan Company, a shrimp breeding company in Ninh Thuan province, said the company imported two kinds of shrimp feed products from the US (the HS – harmonized system - code was 2309.9013 with the confirmation by the export country) five years ago. 

But recently, it has been informed by customs agencies that the product must have another HS code - 0511.9100 - and the product must bear the import tax rate of 5 percent. The company has also been asked to pay tax arrears for the consignments it got five years ago.

The company said that it had sold out all the imports and it cannot ask for more money from farmers to pay tax arrears. 

 Artermia egg importers have complained that if they have to pay 5 percent import tax arrears, they will be pushed into a corner, while farmers will suffer the most.

When asked why the customs agency accepted the tax declaration submitted by the importer five years ago and let the imports get cleared, Nguyen Anh Tuan, head of the Post-customs clearance Examination Agency said importers must take responsibility for their declarations, while customs agencies have the right to check the declarations within five years and collect tax arrears.

The General Department of Customs (GDC), which insists on imposing the HS code 0511.91, affirmed that many other countries including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India, Brunei and Indonesia also assigned the HS code to Artermia imports.

In the latest news, MARD on August 12 sent a dispatch to the Ministry of Finance and GDC asking to apply a zero tax rate on Artemia.

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