Fuel traders ask for lower import taxes

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The Vietnamese Finance Ministry has said some petrol importers have asked for import tax cuts as they find it difficult to keep prices stable as ordered by the government.

They said import taxes for gasoline at 17 percent and for diesel and kerosene at 10 percent are high and have not been changed since April. This means they are incurring losses of VND1,500-1,800 per liter due to high world oil prices.

Vietnam has ordered fuel traders to keep their prices from surging as the country targets a single-digit inflation rate for this year.

A Finance Ministry official told news website VnExpress that Petrolimex, the largest oil products trader which holds 60 percent of the local market, was among the firms asking for the tax cut.

"We are considering the request based on the market," the official said. "Businesses can complain but we need to check whether they are really facing losses and how big the losses are."

Last week, the ministry, for the second time in less than a month, allowed local firms to tap the fuel price stabilization fund to offset their losses.

Starting last Friday, fuel companies can draw VND1,200 from the fund for every liter of gasoline and kerosene sold; and VND1,000 for every liter of diesel.

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