Norway set to tax foreign aquaculture workers and businesses

Trygve Slagsvold Vedum

Norway is  preparing to impose a production tax on foreign-owned aquaculture businesses, it emerged at the weekend.

The tax, which will also affect employees, will apply to those companies which farm offshore in Norwegian waters, on the continental shelf.

Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (pictured) has submitted his proposals for public and parliamentary consultation.

Vedum said: “We want to ensure that the community gets a rightful share of foreign companies’ value creation in Norwegian areas, and therefore make some necessary tax measures to ensure national control.”

One of the main criticisms when he unveiled the ground rent tax (also known as the “salmon tax”) on Norwegian aquaculture businesses, over two years ago, was that it only fell on domestic businesses while overseas-owned businesses and their executives were exempt.

His move at the time  led to massive protests and the shelving of large scale investment projects, many of which are still on hold. They also included offshore farming plans.

Vedum said his plans will, for the moment, apply to those companies which farm offshore.

Vedum has set a deadline of 17 June this year for comments and he wants the new tax to start next year.

The Minister said the country was preparing for growth in offshore fish farming activity on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“We want to ensure that the community gets a rightful share of foreign companies’ value creation in Norwegian areas, and therefore  we are taking some necessary tax measures to ensure national control,” he added.

Norway’s fish farming sector has yet to comment on the proposals  which were only announced over the long Easter holiday weekend.

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