The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to limit import quotas for salt throughout 2012 to only 102,000 tonnes in a bid to support domestic salt production.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Diep Kinh Tan said a 102,000-tonne quota for salt imports is in line with the country's World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments, adding Vietnam only needs to import high-quality salt for use by some processing industries.

The ministry has forecast that this year the country's total salt supply will reach 1.52 million tonnes, including locally-produced salt, stockpiled salt and imported salt. Meanwhile, salt consumption is estimated to stand at around 1.45 million tonnes. As a result, salt supply will exceed demand by 70,000 tonnes.

This year, around 2,000 tonnes of salt will be used by the health care sector and 51,000 tonnes is needed for production of chemicals.

Under the country's commitment to the WTO, Vietnam is allowed to import 191,000 tonnes of salt under a tariff quota that can increase by a maximum of 5 percent per year.

Tan said this year the ministry predicts the volume of locally-produced industrial salt will reach 280,000 tonnes. Therefore, MARD will ask the Ministry of Industry and Trade to instruct chemical manufacturers to work out their production plans in order to ensure supplies of enough quality salt for them.

In addition, MARD asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade to supervise imports of salt to ensure it was used for production, not for local sales.

Those who violated the regulation will be fined by authorities, said Tan.-VNA