Mowi drops salmon tax appeal

Mowi farm, Beitveitnes, Norway

Mowi has decided not to appeal against the court decision which rejected its claim over Norway’s “salmon tax”.

Last month the district court in Hordaland threw out the salmon giant’s lawsuit against the tax, also known as the “ground rent” or “resource rent” tax. Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim has been the industry’s strongest critic against the tax. The company has claimed that the legislation is unfair, discriminatory and contrary to the rules of the European Economic Area (EEA) of which Norway is a member.

According to the Norwegian media  last night, the company has decided not to continue down this route. However, another approach may be on the cards.

According to the business news site e.24, Mowi has accepted  that the  decision of the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) cannot be challenged on a general basis.

It added that the government’s Attorney General, Fredrik Sejersted,  was waiting to see if the company will take a different legal approach.

“In our view, it is obvious that the ground rent tax is fully compatible both with the Constitution, EEA law and the ECHR,” Sejerstad said.

The tax was voted in by parliament a year ago although the rate was cut from the government’s original proposal of 40% to a compromise of 25%.

Norway’s national broadcaster NRK said the state believes that Mowi must wait until it has a concrete tax decision to complain about, and that there is no basis for taking legal action against a decision from the Storting.

Mowi believes that the case in the district court was of a purely procedural nature to determine when a case about the legality of the penalty claim in the new ground rent model can be tried. The company has said it may yet proceed with a lawsuit.

Finance Minister Trygve Vedum, who introduced the salmon tax, said Mowi’s decision was good for the company and the industry.

The Conservative Party, which is currently riding high in the polls, and its right-wing ally the Progress Party have said they will scrap the tax if elected next year.

Mowi may yet have to wait for that eventuality before the issue is finally sorted out.


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