Vietnamese tuna loses competitive edge in Japan due to high taxes

Wednesday, 2017-02-15 12:35:41
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Workers of Hai Nguyen Ltd in Hoai Nhon Town, Binh Dinh Province, process tuna for local consumption. (Credit: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – Vietnamese tuna exporters have struggled to compete with Thai and Philippine firms in the Japanese market due to high taxes, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

In a letter sent to the Ministry of Industry and Trade on February 13, VASEP called on the ministry to review taxes applied on Vietnamese tuna products shipped to Japan and put the issue on table with the Japanese side in an effort to bring them to the zero percent tariffs that Thai and Filipino exporters enjoy.

According to VASEP, Japan is one of Vietnam’s eight biggest tuna export markets. However, Vietnamese tuna exports to this market have continuously dropped since 2013 due to high taxes.

Statistics from Japanese customs showed that tax rates levied on canned yellowfin tuna exported to Japan from Thailand fell from 4.8% in 2009 to zero percent in April 2012 according to the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement.

The rate for the Philippines also decreased to zero percent in April 2013 thanks to the generalised system of preferences, while the rate remains up to 9.6% for Vietnam despite the Vietnam-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement became effective in October 2009.

The association pointed out that in the ASEAN-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement, there is no roadmap for Vietnam to enjoy zero percent taxes like the two above-mentioned countries.

According to VASEP, tuna products contribute between US$450-550 million per year to the country’s total export value.