October 21, 2008
Prices of imported meat have remained unchanged even after duties on imported meat were increased.
Imported meat are still sold 20-percent cheaper than domestic meat at supermart chains in Vietnam. The ratios of meat imports vary in different supermart chains. At Big C, the ratio is 30-40 percent, while it is nearly 20 percent at Intimex, and only several percent at Citimart.
The bestsellers are imported chicken wings and legs due to their lower prices compared to domestic products, according to the supermarts.
Import prices will be driven up by the higher tax, but byproducts such as chicken wings or legs will not see big price increases if importers are experienced in negotiations with suppliers, said Vu Thi Hau, director of Fivimart chain.
The biggest tax increase is applied to imported whole chickens, from 15 percent to 40 percent. However, this is a product that supermarts are not interested in distributing.
An Intimex spokesman said purchasing power and increased tax rate will not have influence on high-end meat products that are only affordable to high-income earners.
The move to increase tax rate was meant to improve the sustainability of the domestic husbandry industry. Nguyen Xuan Duong, deputy head of the Animal Husbandry, said the effect of the increased tax rates will not be apparent for a few months.
In the first seven months of 2008, enterprises spent US$82.7 million to import poultry meat, US$12.5 for pork imports and US$17.2 million for buffalo meat and beef imports.
Although feed prices have slightly decreased, livestock farmers are still incurring losses, said Duong.
In addition, farmers are also hesitant to resume farming at this moment, as they fear the return of diseases with the oncoming winter season.
Duong said that domestic demand and supply are nearly balanced, and that it is necessary to reduce imports a little to boost domestic prices. MARD has instructed local departments to support farmers to resume husbandry, while supermarts are urged to sell domestic products.