Mowi court battle over salmon tax gets underway

Mowi staff member, Beitveitnes, Norway

Mowi’s attempt to get Norway’s new salmon tax declared unlawful has finally reached the courts.

According to the newspaper/news site Bergens Tidende the company met government officials at the Hordaland district court near Bergen yesterday.

Mowi’s Chief Executive Ivan Vindheim, who is the probably the industry’s strongest opponent of the tax, was there for the start of proceedings.

The hearing was called to decide whether the case should be heard this month or adjourned to a later date. A decision on that is expected shortly.

Vindheim will be pleased that things are moving at last. The Storting, Norway’s parliament voted in May last year to impose a 25% “ground rent tax” on larger salmon companies. The Labour- Centre Party coalition originally proposed a tax rate of 40%, but this was gradually whittled down.

It is, however, backdated to January 2023 and will feature on this year’s big company accounts.

Screenshot of Ivan Vindheim on CNN

Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim argues against the salmon tax on CNN, March 2023

Vindheim argues that the tax is grossly unfair because small and some medium companies do not have to pay it.

He also believes it violates EEA (European Economic Area) rules and distorts competition. Mowi is asking the court to set aside the entire law. The other big salmon companies such as SalMar and Grieg will be watching the outcome carefully.

Vindheim believes the new tax is neither sustainable or forward-looking, and will not increase investment or employment in the coastal regions where salmon farms are located.

The  Norwegian Conservative Party, which is riding high in the polls, has pledged to scrap the tax if it is re-elected in next year’s general election.


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