|The cement industry is faced with high stockpiles while exports are not easy. - VNA Photo|
HÀ NỘI – The Ministry of Planning and Investment has proposed export tax cuts on cement while local producers are struggling with high stockpiles as supply has exceeded demand in the domestic market.
In a recent report submitted to the government, the ministry said that the export tax rate of five per cent on cement was too high, which undermined competitiveness of Vietnamese cement in the global market.
Besides, cement was not eligible for input value added tax (VAT) deduction.
The ministry estimated that no deduction on input VAT coupled with five per cent export tax rate pushed up prices of cement and clinker by US$7.5 and $4.5 per tonne, respectively.
This made Vietnamese cement unviable and unable to compete with products from China, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The ministry proposed to the Ministry of Finance that it consider VAT deduction and export tax cut to remove difficulties for local cement producers.
According to the Ministry of Construction, in the local market, supply exceeded demand by around 20 per cent, putting local producers into a lot of difficulties.
Local producers were faced with fierce competition on both quality and prices not only in the export markets but also in the domestic market, especially from China which reportedly encountered overcapacity of hundreds of millions of tonnes.
The Việt Nam Cement Association estimated that the total production capacity of the cement industry of Việt Nam now reached 86 million tonnes while the local demand was at 60 million tonnes in 2017 and the industry must seek ways to export the rest.
Previously, the association said that exports were not easy due to higher prices of Vietnamese cement pushed up by taxes.
By 2020, the cement industry might encounter a surplus of 36 million tonnes to 47 million tonnes, said Nguyễn Quang Cung, the association’s president.
Đinh Trọng Thinh from the Academy of Finance said that exporting cement was just a temporary solution, however. Việt Nam aimed to reduce exports of natural resources while the local cement industry was still using old technologies with high production cost, he said.
"Exporting cement is a difficult problem. Only producers with modern technologies can export and compete,” Thịnh said.
According to Lê Văn Tới, Director of the Building Material Department under the construction ministry, no more cement production lines would be put into operation from 2018 and cement companies must have appropriate production and sales plans to avoid creating more pressure on the local market.
Statistics of the General Department of Customs showed that Việt Nam exported 9.5 million tonnes of cement and clinker, worth $330 million in the first half of this year.
Major import markets of Vietnamese cement were Bangladesh (35.2 per cent) and the Philippines (33.8 per cent).
Việt Nam’s cement and clinker export hit a record high of nearly 20 million tonnes with a revenue of $1 billion in 2014 but has been on a downward trend since then. Việt Nam exported 16.2 million tonnes in 2015 and 14.7 million tonnes in 2016.
Export prices were at around $29 to $30 per tonne for clinker and $45 to $50 per tonne for cement, down by 25 per cent over 2014. - VNS