The business sector said yesterday it strongly supports the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) at border checkpoints in Laos but urged customs officials to implement it at every border crossing with transparency and efficient services.
Both Lao and foreign citizens who bring goods valued at more than 400,000kip or US$50 to the country via the first Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Nong Khai province and Vientiane, are asked to declare all goods imports to the customs officials there for the 10 percent VAT payment required.
The measure will be implemented at this checkpoint first and will begin in November after the Ministry of Finance officially issued the regulation signed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Somdy Duangdy on August 30.
The President of the Lao National Chamber for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Oudeth Souvannavong said on Tuesday On behalf of the business sector, I agree with the VAT collection at the border checkpoint but the practice must cover every crossing and ensure transparency and fast services.
He warned that if this regulation is only implemented at international checkpoints, goods will of course be imported through local checkpoints instead and another thing is that if the payment process is slow it will be an obstacle to trade and also the movement of people.
Mr. Oudeth commented about the implementation of this regulation, saying that it should not be too strict on people who are simply importing goods for personal consumption.
At the same time, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has confirmed that the VAT collection from people bringing goods into the country through the checkpoint does not conflict with international or ASEAN trade regulations.
Deputy Director General of the Foreign Trade Policy Department, Mr. Saysana Sayakone said that VAT collection is implemented within the country and that many countries also do the same, but it depends on each country to determine the percentage of VAT.
The new regulation will of course impact on traders who import goods as they have to declare them and make tax payments to custom officials.
Mr. Saysana beliefed that traders will simply add the paid tax into the price of goods in markets within Laos.
If properly implemented, this regulation will boost revenue collection for the state budget and help the central bank manage the flow of foreign currencies.
Source: Vientiane Times