Norway’s salmon tax a breach of EEA rules says Mowi CEO.
Mowi, the world’s largest salmon farmer, is taking legal action against the Norwegian government over the recently implemented 25 percent resource rent tax on salmon production.
The company, which has initiated the lawsuit through the Oslo District Court, is demanding equal treatment before the law, Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim told Norwegian tabloid VG on Wednesday.
“We believe the bottom deduction linked to the salmon tax is discriminatory and in breach of the EEA (European Economic Area) rules and the four freedoms, including the free flow of capital,” Vindheim told VG.
“The government has been very clear in its rhetoric that it is the five big salmon companies that they want to hit,” he said.
This controversial tax, which was first mooted in September last year, has been widely criticised and blamed by suppliers for a damaging slow-down in investment.
“We already had a ground rent tax model in Norway that worked excellently and was neutral when it came to the size of the companies. Now the government has introduced a system that is discriminatory. We demand equality before the law,” said Vindheim.
“It is not just about taking a little from the rich. We now get a completely different calculation, which means that we do not get to invest as much as we would like.”
The EEA consists of the member states of the European Union (EU) and three countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.
The EEA Agreement was established to allow these EFTA countries to participate in the Single Market of the EU without being full EU members. The Single Market refers to the free movement of goods, services, capital, and people within the member states. Thus, the EEA extends the Single Market’s four freedoms to these non-EU countries.
However, the three EFTA countries in the EEA are not party to the EU’s Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, Customs Union, Common Foreign and Security Policy, Justice and Home Affairs, and Monetary Union (the Eurozone).
Revenue soars but profits flat line as salmon tax bites
Mowi reported solid performance in the year’s second quarter, driven by strong salmon prices, according to results announced Wednesday.
The company’s EBITDA decreased by 4.2 percent to €348 million, even as revenue climbed 11 percent to an all-time quarterly high of €1.4 billion.
Mowi’s harvest for the quarter exceeded its forecast, reaching 107,500 metric tons compared to the projected 104,500 metric tons. The company maintains its 2023 full-year harvest guidance at a record-setting 484,000 metric tons, a 4.4 percent increase year over year.