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Processors Ask For Import Tax Exemption

VIET NAM - With local supplies of raw fish falling, processors via the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) are calling for an exemption on imports of raw fish materials, in order for them to continue to reach projected export targets of processed fish.

In terms of value, Viet Nam is one of the worlds leading seafood exporters. However, in recent times, the Vietnamese seafood sector has encountered a lack of raw supply such as shrimp, marine fish and an unstable supply of pangasius.

One of the causes is a fall in landings, due to disturbance in the East Sea preventing fishermen from offshore fishing.

As well as this, Chinese fish dealers are competing with local businesses, purchasing raw fish on boats or at fishing ports in Viet Nam pushing up the prices.

Processors in the Mekong Delta, one of the largest shrimp farming areas in Viet Nam are struggling to fill their demand.

Even during harvest, shrimp prices are increasing faster than the export price, making it difficult for local shrimp businesses to compete, says VASEP.

As well as increased competition, weather conditions and disease epidemics are affecting supply levels.

Over the past few years, more and more Vietnamese seafood businesses have begun to import raw materials to fulfil demand, keep plants running and keep staff employed.

A recent survey by VASEP highlighted this growing need to import raw materials, with processors demanding an import tax exemption on raw fish. The current import duty is extremely high, between 12-18 per cent, says VASEP.

According to Viet Nam Customs, unprocessed fish is imported from over 70 countries. In the period of 2001 - 2004, Viet Nams raw fish import value reached around $90 - 100 million per year. In the period of 2005 - 2008, import value rose to $200 - 300 million per year. In 2010, raw fish import volume reached 130.2 thousand million tonnes, worth over $325 million.

The main suppliers of raw fish for Viet Nam are Japan, ASEAN, Taiwan, South Korea, and the US.

The importation of unprocessed fish surely has no impact to local fish production, argues VASEP. It is on this argument that Vietnamese seafood enterprises are requesting that the relevant authorities consider an import tax exemption on black tiger shrimp, whiteleg shrimp and cephalopods. With this exemption, the country will be able to reach the government's target for fish processing of $6.5 - 6.7 billion by 2015 and $8.0 billion by 2020.

the Fish Site Editor

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