Sugar tax kicks off today

PETALING JAYA: Licensed importers of sweetened beverages must come up with a letter of undertaking and also submit lab reports, says the Customs Department.

If the total sugar content of their drinks exceeds the threshold or if the reports are not submitted, the importers will need to make payment of the duties involved.

The lab reports are compulsory for exempted goods but importers are granted postponement from submitting the lab reports from July 1 to Aug 31.

These are among the procedures spelt out by the Customs Department in the implementation of the excise tax on sugary beverages during the two month transition period.

The import of sugary drinks must be declared in Form K1 (declaration of goods imported) just like other imported products.

According to the Customs Department, the lab reports will need to be submitted within 30 days from the date of the K1 clearance.

For domestic sales of dutiable sugary drinks, licensed manufacturers will use the Excise Form No.7 and the declaration will be for a period of one calendar month.

“The declaration needs to be made no later than the last date of the following month.

“Declaration for the local sales of products exempted from the duty will also use the Excise Form No.7,” it said.

In a statement yesterday, the Customs Department announced that the import and manufacturing of sugary drinks were subject to excise duty effective today.

The guidelines and imple­mentation procedure of the excise duty on sugary drinks for the transition period are available at

For further information, the business community can also contact the Customs Call Centre at 1300 888 500 which operates from Monday to Sunday from 8.30am to 10pm.

The excise duty is imposed on sweetened beverages at 40 sen per litre on two categories of ready-to-drink packaged sweetened drinks.

The beverages include carbonated drinks containing added sugar or flavoured, and other sweetening matter which contains sugar exceeding 5g per 100ml.

Meanwhile, Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye said producers of sweetened beverages should reduce the content of sugar in their drinks to curb obesity even if this impacted the industry.

He noted that some producers were already coming up with healthy choices with lower sugar content.

“It takes a long time to change the taste of the community and reducing the sugar content is one way to do that.

“After all, if we look back at history, nobody could ever imagine that some 30 years ago, bottled water could become a commodity.

“No one would have thought that a company could sell just water and in fact, one of the largest bottled water companies is based in Perak,” he told reporters after launching a health and family fun day at SMJK Ave Maria Convent yesterday.

The sugar tax, said Dr Lee, was a measure under the Finance Ministry, which his ministry gave full support to.

“There is evidence from other countries, like Mexico, where sugar tax actually helped to reduce the consumption of sugar and the revenue from the tax is used to help fund school nutrition programmes for the poor,” he said.

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