Seafood industry in call to scrap “employer tax”

Norwegian industry organisation Seafood Companies is urging the government to remove the employer tax on the seafood industry so more salmon and other fish can be processed at home.

Much of Norway’s salmon, for example, is processed hundreds of miles away in Poland and Denmark.

Robert H. Eriksson, managing director of Seafood Companies (“Sjomatbedriftene” in Norwegian) says that the number of companies within the seafood industry has fallen from 688 in 1995 to around 350 today. He is hoping for some response when the national budget is presented later today.

Seafood Companies already points out that many salmon producers will now be paying a salmon tax of 25% on top of corporation tax of 22%.

The additional employer tax is effectively a production fee on each kilogram of salmon they process, plus an additional payment if they want to increase output.

He further says that 33% of fish for export was processed at home in 2010, but that figure had now fallen to 28%.

Eriksson argued: “The various governments have, in celebratory speech after celebratory speech, advocated that more value be created from seafood in Norway, and that this should take place, among other things, in the form of increased processing here at home.

“But the truth is that it gets worse and worse with each passing year, and more and more of the fish we export goes to the market unprocessed.”

“Seafood Companies believe that clear steps must be taken, and want the government to be able to show political action in connection with the state budget for next year.”

He said Norway is and will remain a high-cost country: “Costs related to labour are perhaps the largest single component that contributes to the fact that many industrial companies struggle with very low profitability.

“Competitiveness must increase, and one important measure would be to remove employer’s tax for the seafood industry. Therefore, this is a clear wish from us to the government.”

Eriksson further points out that the government, in its last budget, made the situation even more difficult for the business community by introducing a temporary additional employer’s tax.

He concluded: “Our clear demand is that this additional taxation to employ people be abolished in next year’s state budget. This is nothing more than a special Norwegian penalty tax for hiring people, which is completely unreasonable.”

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