GST for some fresh food items from July 1

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The goods and services tax (GST) will be imposed on fresh food items and more processed food items starting July 1.

China Press reported this included some seafood, vegetables, and fruits, tea, coffee, spices, and noodles. 

New items reportedly to be levied the GST include spinach, long beans, peas, potatoes, sweet corn, grapes and coconut oil. 

Customs Department director-general T Subromaniam confirmed this and said a statement will be issued soon, The Star reported.

“It’s only a few items not consumed by the masses,” he reportedly said.

However, at mid-day, Subromaniam issued a statement to clarify that the expanded list of taxable items has been cancelled.

Introduced on April 1, 2015, at six percent,  the GST is now zero-rated for fresh food items. 

The government had then said it will only levy the tax on processed food items to reduce the burden on the low-income group. 

There are also exemptions for essential items like medications. 

Critics, however, condemned the tax as regressive, as those whose incomes are below the income tax threshold are now forced to pay taxes. 

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