Displaying items by tag: Tax
Pakistan: The Pakistan government is working on two options to challenge South African anti-dumping duties on Pakistani exports of cement. The first step will be to hold bilateral consultations with the South African government to resolve the anti-dumping duties favourably. Failing that, then the Pakistan government has the option to take the issue to the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO), according to an official from the Pakistan National Tariff Commission (NTC).
The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) imposed provisional anti-dumping duties of 14.3 – 77.2% on Portland Cement originating in or imported from Pakistan from 15 May 2015 for six months. The duty was imposed on bagged cement.
According to local media, Lucky Cement, the major supplier to South Africa with a 55% market share, seems to have had sales volumes little affected by the anit-dumping measure due to its low duty. However, Attock Pakistan, the second largest supplier with a 35% market share, has been the worst hit due to its high anti-dumping duty. Pakistani cement exporters are exploring other markets in southern Africa.
Ghana: The Ghana Cement Manufacturers Association (GCMA), which comprises Ghacem Ltd, Diamond Cement Company Ltd and Savannah Diamond Company Ltd, has appealed to the Ministry of Finance to urgently commence investigation into what it described as the tax liabilities of certain importers of bagged cement into the country.
In a letter dated 26 May 2015 and addressed to the director of taxes at the Finance Ministry, the GCMA said that it had gathered that two importers, SOL Ghana Ltd and Fujiman Sentuo, had allegedly declared cost, insurance, freight (CIF) values of about US$27/t and US$30/t respectively. The letter, jointly signed by George Dawson-Ahmoah, chairman and N Venketash, vice chairman / secretary, stated, 'The alleged values to us as seasoned manufacturers in the cement industry are unbelievable and call for the attention of the tax authorities. Such values, when confirmed, are under-valued leading to huge financial loss to the nation."
South Africa: South Africa has imposed provisional anti-dumping duties of 14.3 – 77.2% on Portland Cement originating in or imported from Pakistan from 15 May 2015 for six months. Lucky Cement is subjected to pay 14.3% duty, followed by Bestway at 77.2%, DG Khan at 68.9%, Attock Pakistan at 63.5% and other cement makers at 62.7%.
This follows an investigation initiated by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) on 22 August 2014 after a number of local cement producing companies submitted an application on behalf of the South African Customs Union (SACU). A number of companies, including Afrisam, Lafarge Africa, NPC Cimpor and PPC, approached the ITAC and established a prima facie case that convinced the commission to initiate an investigation on the basis of dumping, material injury, threat of material injury and causality. However, the application was opposed by Pakistani cement producers, such as Lucky Cement, Bestway Cement, DG Khan Cement and Attock Cement.
The commission found that the industry is suffering material injury through a decline in sales volume and output as well as profits and cash flow. The industry also experienced price undercutting and price suppression. The commission further found that a threat of material injury exists given that Pakistan has increased its production capacity; Pakistan's exports to its traditional markets are declining and imports from Pakistan into South Africa increased by >600% in 2010 - 2013.
The commission made a preliminary determination that Portland cement originating in or imported from Pakistan was dumped into the market. In order to prevent further injury to the industry while the investigation is under way, the commission has requested the SARS (South African Revenue Service) to impose the provisional measures on imported Portland cement originating from Pakistan for six months.
India: The Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA) is seeking a tax on cement imports to provide a level playing field to the industry.
In a memorandum to various Union Ministries on 10 April 2015, the CMA said that cement was allowed to be imported into India at zero import duty, whereas all the major raw materials required to make cement such as limestone, gypsum, pet coke and packing bags attract import duties.
"To provide a level playing field, the basic customs duty should be levied on imports of cement into India and import duties on goods required for the manufacture of cement be abolished and freely allowed without levy of duty," said the CMA. The CMA also said that there is a case for rationalisation of domestic taxes on the cement sector in order to make it competitive.
"The value-added tax (VAT) on steel is only 4% whereas it is 12.5 – 15% on cement and clinker in different states. Thus there is a need to slash the tax burden by 20 – 25% through rationalisation and lowering of the excise duty to 6 – 8% without the addition of any specific duty," said the CMA. It also demanded that cement be stipulated as 'declared goods' to put it on equal footing with goods like coal and steel and an element of royalty be included in the calculation of drawback rates.
India: Delhi Government's Revenue Department has fined Holcim India US$11m for evasion of stamp duty. It also directed the company to pay stamp duty of US$36m and a penalty of US$11m within 30 days for violation of stamp duty. Collector of Stamps (HQ) Lalit Mohan told local media that Holcim India had violated the payment of stamp duty with the merger of Ambuja Cement.
"The stamp duty on the merger order is payable at the rate of 3% on the total amount of US$1.2bn which comes out to be US$36m... The company is required to adjudicate or pay stamp duty within a period of one month which it failed to do," said Lalit Mohan in the order.
In its submission to the Revenue Department, Holcim India stated that there was no transfer of movable and immovable assets from transferor company (Ambuja Cement) with transferee company (Holcim) except shares held by transferor company in other companies have been transferred to transferee company. Subsequently the company did not see itself as liable for stamp duty.
Brazil: The Foreign Trade Chamber (Camex) of the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade has approved anti-dumping measures against six countries: China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Mexico and the US. The Camex has also added a 4% levy to cement imports.
Dumping is the commercial practice whereby a country exports products at lower prices than those charged domestically in order to cause problems to its competitors. Whenever the practice is confirmed via a probe, imports of the products at hand from the dumping country can be overtaxed. The right to apply anti-dumping duties may be granted permanently or temporarily. Provisional authorisations occur whenever probes uncover signs of dumping. They are valid for up to six months and may be converted into permanent authorisations. The latter occur following more thorough probes and are generally valid for up to five years.
The Camex approved the inclusion of six products on the Exception List to the Mercosur Common External Tariff (Letec). When a product is added, its import tax rate can be raised or lowered in relation to the rate applied by the Latin American block's countries. The rate for cement, which was formerly exempt, will now have a 4% rate levied.
Bad news for both cement workers and local clinker production in Australia and New Zealand this week with the announcement of job cuts and planned closures of clinker plants. Holcim New Zealand has confirmed that around 120 jobs will go when its Westport cement plant closes in 2016 along with the rationalisation of a few management jobs when the company integrates its Australian and New Zealand businesses. Meanwhile, Boral announced that it will cut 28 jobs from its Maldon Cement plant in Australia when it ceases clinker production at the end of 2014.
With these planned closures cement production capacity in the antipodes will shrink by just over 1.5Mt/yr to around 7.5Mt/yr, a reduction of over 15% Alongside the drop in native cement production players are re-focusing on an import market.
The trend is highlighted by the fact that Boral's Maldon site will retain its grinding mill. Earlier in June 2014 it was reported that Vue Australia is planning to convert a brownfield site on Kooragang Island, New South Wales into a cement storage and transfer plant. In February 2014 Cockburn Cement cut 44 jobs at its Munster cement plant as it started to restructure its operation for grinding using imported clinker. Also in February 2014 Cement Australia, the joint-owned company between Holcim and HeidelbergCement, had a US$17m expansion of its cement loading and storage facility for processing at Osborne approved by local authorities.
Following its restructuring in 2013, which has seen clinker production cease at Waurn Ponds and soon to cease at Maldon, Boral reported that its cement revenues grew in its 2012 – 2013 financial year. This is likely to continue when the 2013 – 2014 year is reported in August 2014. Likewise, Adelaide Brighton reported growing revenues in 2013. Cement Australia reported growing cement sales year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014 following reduced sales in 2013.
All in all the local cement industry in Australia and New Zealand has taken quite a knock in recent years. Reasons for this have included a poor recovery for the local building materials market, high-energy costs, the Carbon Tax in Australia, competition concerns and the spectre of cheap clinker imports from East Asia undercutting everything. However the return to revenue and then profit suggest that the worst of the job cuts and clinker production shrinkage is over.
In this business environment, revelations such as a China Resources spending upwards of US$300,000 on golf are unlikely to garner sympathy for any measures that appear to reduce international competiveness for Australian industry. The current Australian government led by Tony Abbott is set to make good on its promise to repeal the Carbon Tax from July 2014. The environmental effects will be unclear given that the tax may have cut emissions from participating companies by 7%, falling from 342Mt in 2011 – 2012 to 321Mt in 2012 – 2013, according to the Investor Group on Climate Change. As is usual with localised carbon taxation or legislation, whether global emissions fell during this period or whether emissions grew in looser jurisdictions to compensate is hard to calculate. The trend towards clinker imports suggests that there may be a significant contribution from the latter.
Pakistan: The Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cement is likely to be rise by US$1/t in the upcoming budget for the 2014 - 2015 Pakistan financial year. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials said that the government had reduced the FED on cement from US$7.6/t to US$5/t in the 2011 – 2012 financial year and from US$5/t to US$4/t in the 2012 – 2013 financial year.
According to local press the government promised local cement producers that the FED would be gradually reduced and phased out. However, FBR sources spoken to by the Nation reported that the FED was likely to be increased by US$1/t to US$5/t to make up for a shortfall in tax revenue. However no final decision has been made so far.
If the FED does increase during the next budget then the cost of cement is likely to rise for consumers.
Pakistan: The All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA) has asked the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to exclude cement from the 'Third schedule' of the Sales Tax act or to fix the maximum retail price (MRP) on the basis of two different zones in the upcoming budget of 2014 - 2015.
In a letter to the FMR chairman the APCMA said, that as the dynamics of every province and region are different, collection of sales tax on the basis of a single MRP across the country would force producers to restrict sales to nearby markets. It added that this would restrict sales to further-away markets reducing the potential revenues the FBR could collect.
The APCMA has proposed a zone-based MRP to protect both local consumers from paying excess prices and producers from paying more to sell cement in outlying markets. It also asked the FBR to introduce a uniform tax rate for the corporate sector.
Cement in Pakistan is subject to various taxes including: Corporate Income Tax - 34% of taxable income; Minimum tax – 1% of turnover; Federal excise duty (FED) – US$3.8/t; and Sales Tax 17% of the MRP. The APCMA has also proposed removing the FED and reducing the duty on alternative fuels to zero. Further suggestions included restoring the initial allowance on plants and machinery to 50% (from 25% at present) to encourage production capacity development and reducing import taxes on raw materials and capital goods for industrial development from 5 to 1%.
Spain: Cemex has said that it 'complies scrupulously with all legal and tax obligations in Spain,' in response to reports in the Spanish media about its tax affairs in the country. The company 'does not have any debts outstanding or face any penalties from the Spanish tax service as of this time,' said Cemex. The Mexico-based cement producer has reserved the right to take legal action against anyone publishing inaccurate reports about the company.
Cemex issued the statement following reports in the Spanish media about the firing of a tax inspector for rejecting its appeal of a large penalty. The dismissal led to the resignation of the head of the department overseeing large taxpayers. Subsequently, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria denied that Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro had any relationship with Cemex's tax advisers before taking up his Cabinet post.