Vietnam import tariffs on foods to go up

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The import tariffs on many food imports to Vietnam will be raised late next month, to cut the trade gap and support local farmers, according to the new decree issued by the Finance Ministry.


Different kinds of fruits and vegetables including tomatoes, pineapples, oranges, longans and corn will be taxed between 30-40 percent--the highest import tariffs ever placed on food coming into Vietnam, starting October 24.


Tariffs on meat products, including canned ones, will rise to between 30-38 percent while chocolate and cocoa products will be taxed up to 25 percent.


The new taxes were inspired by a government decree issued in April that was intended to contain trade deficits and achieve the economic growth of around 6.5 percent this year.


During the first five months of this year, Vietnam imported more than 50,000 tons of pork.


The consumption and prices of domestic pork dropped following the return of blue ear disease in April, by 30-45 percent (in the Northern Provinces) and 10-15 percent (in Ho Chi Minh City).


The imported meat amounted to US$7.77 million in July, most of it came from Europe, Hong Kong, the US, Thailand, China and Japan.


Pham Van Minh, Director of the Phu An Sinh Food Processing Company, said it's a good time for domestic food enterprises to expand their production.


Van Duc Muoi, General Director of Vissan, the city's major food processing firm, said he supports the tariff hikes but also said that the policies should be established in a stable way instead of jumping every time the trade gap increases.


"The important thing is the country should invest in [processing] facilities to develop domestic production," Muoi said.


A representative from the leading retailer, Saigon Co-op, said that 95 percent of goods sold in their supermarkets are locally made, so the new taxes won't affect prices and consumption much.


Officials from Big C supermarket chain also said that the amount of goods will be affected by the increased taxes are very small.


However, the supermarkets said they have not received any official information about the new taxes.

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