Vietnam slaps tax on imported vegetable oils to protect local producers

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     Locally produced vegetable oil being sold in a supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dat Viet newspaper

Vietnam has imposed a 5 percent import tax on refined soybean oil and palm oil, saying a surge in imports of the items is harming the domestic industry.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade's decision takes effect on September 7, and the tariff will fall gradually to 2 percent by 2017.

The ministry introduced the tax after an eight-month-long investigation showed that the market share of local vegetable oil producers declined from 52 percent in 2009 to 27 percent in 2012 even as demand went up from 100 tons to 137.94 tons.

The investigation was initiated last December following an application by the National Company for Vegetable Oils, Aromas and Cosmetics of Vietnam (Vocarimex) and seven other producers.

Do Ngoc Khai, chairman of Vocarimex, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the duty would enable domestic producers to overcome their difficulties and strengthen their position.

It is for the first time the government has invoked an ordinance on safeguard measures against imports that it passed in 2002.

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