High taxes on imported seafood materials damaging seafood exports.
Taxes on imported seafood materials should be removed to support the country’s seafood exports, Mr. Nguyen Hoai Nam, Deputy Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), told a conference on May 28 in Hanoi on policies to support domestic sectors in the wake of free trade agreements (FTA) coming into being.
“Over 70 per cent of imported seafood materials are processed then exported,” Mr. Nam said. Under Vietnam’s WTO commitments the tax rate on imported seafood materials is high, he added, pointing out that imported seafood materials such as shrimp (from 10 to 14 per cent) and tuna (from 18 to 24 per cent) are taxed quite heavily.
The high price of imported materials results in high prices for Vietnam’s exports, weakening the competitive capacity of the country’s seafood enterprises. “Certain policies on taxes are major obstacles for domestic enterprises,” he said. In some cases the effect of support policies is the opposite of that intended.
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the WTO Center at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), told the gathering that the more FTAs that have been signed the fewer support policies there have been for domestic enterprises from the State.
“Enterprises want support policies, but the government is limited by its commitments in FTAs,” said Ms. Nguyen Hang Nga from the Vietnam Competition Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
She agreed that if domestic enterprises really needed support policies then they should be forthcoming from the government. When balancing the benefit to domestic enterprises against the risk of being sued if measures were introduced to support domestic enterprises, Ms. Nga believes domestic enterprises should come first.