Export tax breaks tipped to continue

By Aye Thidar Kyaw
Volume 31, No. 615
February 20 - 26, 2012

EXPORT taxes on a variety of commodities that were due to expire on February 14 will stay at 2 percent for the next six months, several sources close to the Ministry of Commerce said last week.

Commerce officials say they are negotiating with the Ministry of Finance and Revenue, and have sent letters asking to have the tax break extended.

Export taxes charged on seven different types of commodities, including rice, beans and pulses, sesame, rubber, maize, fisheries products and animal products were cut from 10pc to 7pc in mid-July and then to 2pc from August 15.

Export taxes on garments and some value-added goods were also cut to 2pc on September 1. Bank fees charged on foreign workers remitting money were cut to 2pc on the same day.

Dr Maung Aung, an adviser to the Minister for Commerce, told The Myanmar Times on February 11 that the government would extend the tax breaks for at least another six months, even though there had been no official announcement as yet.

He said other exports, such as onions, mangoes, melons and flowers would likely be added to the list of commodities subject to the 2pc export tax.

Minister for Commerce U Win Myint told government officials and traders during a trade promotion workshop in Nay Pyi Taw on January 23 that the government was discussing the cuts in depth.

Dr Pwint San, Deputy Minister for Commerce, said the volume of legal exports was probably only half as large as those that left the country illegally.

“In reality, the size of the illegal trade volume is usually twice as large as legal exports,” he said.

Dr Maung Aung said the government had instituted a number of measures in the past 12 months – such as cutting export taxes, expediting trade licence applications and allowing the legal import of previously banned goods – to encourage businesspeople to operate within the legal fold.