The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry has been exempting tax barriers for the businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The exemption period for withholding tax on exports will be extended up to 30 April 2021, according to its notification dated 19 March. The MoPFI earlier granted relief on a two per cent withholding tax on exports between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. At present, the negative impacts of the pandemic are exacerbating, and so, the withholding tax will be extended until 30 April 2021.
Moreover, international trade transactions cannot be done during the meantime amid the closure of private banks. The Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce notified on 3 March that exporters and importers do not require to seek licences for 37 HS code lines for exports and 72 lines for imports between 8 March and 9 April 2021 to facilitate the trade. Export items with licence exemption include onion, garlic, rice, broken rice, raw sugar, refined sugar, natural rubber and cotton.
While the exemption covers the following import goods; sliced fish (salmon and tuna), flour, soybean seed, palm oil, food commodity, cement, gasoline, diesel, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer and lubricant. However, tax cut and licence exemption will not tackle the trade slowdown amid the current political changes, an exporter shared his opinion. Regardless of maritime trade disruption, border trade with China and Thailand remained strong. Withholding tax exemption will help smooth border trade businesses, a trader from Muse said.
Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar