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Concern Expressed Over Impact of China’s New VAT

September 18, 2013

NR 13-11

Contact: Karen V. Gregory, Secretary (202) 523-5725

During its closed meeting today, the Commission discussed the People’s Republic of China’s new regulations on implementation of a nationwide value added tax (VAT) on international transportation services. This new tax was implemented by China on August 1, 2013.

A number of maritime industry stakeholders have expressed concerns regarding the application of the VAT. The Commission has now received requests for assistance from the shipping community to clarify the application and scope of the VAT. At this time, Commission staff is gathering information on the VAT by cooperating with other U.S. federal agencies, our U.S. Embassy and various U.S. Consulates in China. In addition, staff is gathering information from the private sector including carriers and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOCCs).

The Commission is concerned that there may be negative impacts on oceanborne international commerce between the United States and China. Ocean carriers and NVOCCs regulated by the Commission appear to be collecting the new tax. The Commission has interest in laws, rules, and policies that may have an adverse impact on U.S. shipping, and which may merit Commission attention under section 19 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1920 or the Foreign Shipping Practices Act. In light of today’s discussion, the Commission is considering a range of options to obtain further clarity on the application of this new tax regime.  

The Federal Maritime Commission is the federal agency responsible for regulating the nation’s international ocean transportation for the benefit of exporters, importers, and the American consumer.  The FMC’s mission is to foster a fair, efficient, and reliable international ocean transportation system while protecting the public from unfair and deceptive practices.