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Norway seafood spokesman calls for end to VAT on fish

Robert Eriksson wants the Oslo government to follow in the footsteps of store chain Kiwi.
Robert Eriksson wants the Oslo government to follow in the footsteps of store chain Kiwi.

The chief executive of Norway’s Sjømatbedriftenes seafood industry body has urged the government in Oslo to scrap VAT on all fish to boost home consumption.

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His call follows a decision by a grocery chain, Kiwi, to absorb the 15% cost of VAT on fish a bid to raise fish consumption by its customers by 20% in six weeks.

Sjømatbedriftenes chief executive Robert Eriksson said Norwegian finance minister Siv Jensen should follow the chain’s example and remove VAT on fish in a forthcoming budget.

Although Norway’s seafood exports were worth nearly NOK100 million in 2018, seafood consumption in Norway is falling.

In 2017 the government said it would increase the consumption of fish by Norwegians by 20% in five years through a large number of measures, including information campaigns aimed at children and young people in school.

Measures have failed

But fish consumption is still heading downwards.

“So far, the measures that have been implemented have been a failure,” said Eriksson. “In the first year (of the initiative), consumption of fish fell by as much as 10%. Norwegians’ fish eating has had a downward trend since 2013. We need a more powerful incentive.”

He added: “The government must succeed with its goal of increasing the consumption of fish among Norwegians. I think Siv Jensen must become the government’s Kiwi, by removing the VAT on fish. At least it’s worth a try. And this can be done in connection with the revised national budget, which is presented to the spring.”

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