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Representative organizations in the fisheries and aquaculture sector have requested the Government to reduce VAT

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Saturday, August 01, 2020, 16:00 (GMT + 9)

According to the sector, it would mean a decrease in VAT collection of 500 million, offset by the drop in healthcare spending due to illnesses related to poor nutrition.

 The current Spanish tax on fish, an essential food in a healthy diet, exceeds that of Ireland (0%), France (5.5%), Portugal (6%) or Germany (7.0%)

Madrid - The most representative organizations in the fisheries and aquaculture sector in Spain * have requested the Government to urgently reduce the rate of the Value Added Tax to 4% for fishery products, currently 10%, with the In order to compare it to that of the rest of the EU countries, place it at the same level as that applied in Spain to other foods such as bread, eggs, milk, fruit or vegetables - considered essential necessities; protect the rights of consumers, promote a healthy diet and contain the decrease in fish consumption.

Through a letter addressed to the President of the Spanish Government, the Vice President of Social Affairs and the 2030 Agenda, Pablo Iglesias, and the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, the signatory associations also demand a social policy to support healthy eating for children and adults –of which fish forms a substantial part, as numerous scientific studies confirm– with an appropriate tax regime and successful and forceful educational and consumption promotion campaigns.

Types of VAT in Spain

In practically all the countries of the European Union, fish enjoy a reduced VAT rate compared to the general one. Most of their governments have taken into account the need to promote consumption among the population and are applying rates of less than 10% that are currently imputed in Spain. Thus, for example, in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Malta, VAT is not applied to fish. France taxes it with 5.5%, Luxembourg with 3%, Belgium with 6%, Cyprus with 5% as well as Hungary and Poland, our neighbor Portugal with 6%, and Germany, which applied a VAT of 7% on fish, just announced, after the health crisis caused by COVID-19, the reduction of that tax rate to 5%.

In Spain, leader in Europe in terms of fishing and aquaculture, from production and transformation to final distribution, with a sector that has made a huge commitment to economic, social and environmental sustainability in the development of its activity, is taxed to fish products (fish and shellfish and their processed) with a VAT of 10%, six points above that of other foods such as bread, milk, eggs, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, legumes or cereals, and also other products such as medicines or magazines, books and newspapers, which benefit from the super-reduced VAT of 4%. Equating them as staple food is the repeated demand of the fishing sector.

Other arguments put forward in the letter to the Government also include the progressive reduction in the consumption of fishery products in Spain, which has fallen by almost 18% in the last ten years; the increase in pathologies related to poor diet, such as obesity, overweight and cardiovascular diseases –which generate an expenditure of 7.7 billion euros per year for the National Health System and are the leading cause of mortality in Spain–, and the progressive abandonment of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

According to the writing, "we believe that the time has come for the Government of Spain to demonstrate a firm and real commitment to promote a healthy diet among Spaniards and, for this, without a doubt, fish must be considered a food staple and reduce its tax rate from 10% to 4% ”.

This reduction, which, according to the calculations made by the sector, would mean a decrease in VAT collection of less than 500 million, would be offset by the decrease in the increase in health spending due to illnesses related to poor diet.

* Confederación Española de Pesca (CEPESCA), Asociación Empresarial de Acuicultura de España (APROMAR), Asociación Nacional de Fabricantes de Conservas (ANFACO), Federación Nacional de Cofradías de Pescadores (FNCP), Federación Nacional de Mayoristas de Pescados (FENAMAR) y Federación Nacional de Asociaciones Provinciales de Empresarios Detallistas de Pescados y Productos Congelados (FEDEPESCA)



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