The measure was proposed after the Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) imported 9,500 tonnes of low-quality coal early this month from Indonesia to power thermo-electric plants in central and southern Vietnam. The shipment from Indonesia was the first time Vietnam, a coal exporter, imported coal.
Concerned over ensuring coal supplies, the ministry said it was the right time to raise taxes on coal exports to minimise depletion of the country's resources.
Experts have agreed with the move, which would also help improve the past situation of Vietnamese enterprises exporting high-quality coal while importing low-quality coal for domestic use, despite the fact that the use of the imported produced more pollution.
Nguyen Thanh Son, director of Vinacomin's Red River energy project, said increasing coal imports were a result of rampant coal exploitation and exports in Vietnam during the past several years.
In the first five months, Vinacomin exported 6.64 million tonnes of coal worth US$638 million, a year-on-year decline of 25 per cent.
According to Vinacomin, Vietnam would annually import 10 million tonnes of coal by 2012 and these imports would increase to 100 million tonnes per year by 2020. Meanwhile, the country would export 2 million tonnes of coal each year by 2012, increasing to around 20 million tonnes per year by 2020.
Earlier, the Ministry of Finance also decided to increase the export tax on iron ore to 40 per cent from the current 30 per cent from July 2. The decision was issued after steel makers complained about a lack of iron ore for domestic steel production.
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