THE tax rate on imported sugar needs to be the same as other ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines for the reason that local sugar entrepreneurs are suffering from the tax gap between Myanmar and other ASEAN nations according to the Myanmar Sugar Cane and Sugar Related Products Merchant and Manufacturers Association.
“The tax income on Myanmar sugar exports comes from Thailand (10 per cent), Indonesia (25 per cent) and The Philippines (35 per cent). The import of sugar, however, from other ASEAN countries is only 0.5 per cent and little tax is being collected. This badly affects local sugar entrepreneurs”, said U Soe Linn, the chairman of Myanmar Sugar Cane & Sugar Related Products Merchant & Manufacturers Association.
The imported sugar, some 1.15 million tonnes between January and March this year, is about threefold that of annual local production. China currently purchases Myanmar sugar which meets export quality standards. To fulfil the demand from China, the volume of import of sugar from Thailand and India has increased.
The volume of domestic sugar consumption is between 350,000 and 400,000 tonnes per year which is about equal to annual domestic production.
The Myanmar Sugar Cane and Sugar Related Products Merchant and Manufacturers Association has submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Commerce urging a change of the tax code to bring the taxation rate on sugar imports to be more in line with other ASEAN nations. Local sugar entrepreneurs may suffer from sugar exports if China elects to restrict the import of sugar for any number of reasons. One reason may be that sugar import is not legally allowed in China. A G-to-G agreement related to sugar exports to China needs to be negotiated.
Sugar imports from abroad should be halted during the four months from December to March when the domestic sugar manufacturing industries run their harvest time business in order to maintain profits for domestic producers.