Businesspersons urge gov’t to review gold import duty

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A view shows jeweleries displayed in glass cabinets at the shop of jeweleries. Photo: Phoe Khwar

The Myanmar Gold Entrepreneurs Association (MGEA) will request the government to revise the 15 per cent customs duty on imported gold very soon.
Since 22 January, the Ministry of Commerce has been allowing traders to import and export gold, gold jewellery and accessories made of gold from all points of entry. Although the ministry has liberalised the gold trade, the current 15 per cent tax on gold imports is proving to be a major headache for traders.
U Ohn Myaing, secretary of the MGEA, said, “We are dissatisfied with the existing import duty. It is unacceptable to carry out gold imports with a 15 per cent tax rate. Members of the MGEA are planning to submit a proposal to the government soon. Other difficulties associated with gold trading are expected to arise once we start trading. We will negotiate with the authorities to solve the problems.”
The current tax rate is the main barrier for importers, although a majority of local gold traders are willing to import gold from overseas.
U Ohn Myaing added that an arrangement would be made by the trade authorities to offer one-stop services to gold traders, as gold prices can change within a few hours.
U Myo Myint, chair of Yangon Region Gold Entrepreneurs Association, said, “Almost all members of the association take an interest in gold imports. However, it is not acceptable to us to carry out gold imports at a 15 per cent tax rate. In international countries, there is no customs duty on gold imports. We discussed this issue with officials from the ministry at an informal meeting. The trade authorities said a decision on import duty will be taken only after the proposal has been submitted to the union government.”
Most gold traders are planning to import gold from neighbouring Thailand and China, and export finished gold jewellery to overseas countries.
Now, gold, gold jewellery and accessories made from gold can be traded legally through air and sea routes, as well as cross-borders with the use of L/C or TT system. Exporters and importers need to apply for export/import registration, export volume, standard, price and valuation, and export/import licences. Entrepreneurs also need to seek a recommendation from the Myanmar Gems Enterprise and Department of Mines, and permission from the Yangon City Development Committee for the registration process.
Export/import volume, standard, prices and value of gold will be fixed by the steering committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Planning and Finance, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, the Ministry of Education, the Department of Research and Innovation and the Myanmar Gold Center Market Development Committee.
According to the commerce ministry’s notification, the move is expected to eliminate illegal gold trading, stabilize the market and raise the country’s revenue. It is also aimed at penetrating the world market with domestically produced gold.


May Thet Hnin


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