Car imports rise again as firms adjust to rules

April 02, 2018 - 09:00

The General Statistics Office of Việt Nam (GSO) estimated that imports of completely built-up cars in April will likely jump in both volume and value compared to the previous month.

Customs staff checking imported autos at a port in the northern city of Hải Phòng. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The General Statistics Office of Việt Nam (GSO) estimated that imports of completely built-up cars in April will likely jump in both volume and value compared to the previous month.

Imports have increased again after several months of dropping as the Vietnamese Government issued Decree 116 in October last year, stipulating the conditions for production, assembly, import and business of automobile warranty and maintenance services, which auto importers in Việt Nam deem as obstacles, especially regulation required the Vehicle Type Approval (VTA) Certificate to be issued by the exporting country.

The jump in imports indicates that importers have found ways to fully meet the requirements of Decree 116.

Under the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement commitments, the import tax rate of cars from ASEAN countries became zero per cent in January this year. Under this policy, at least 40 per cent of the parts used in each vehicle must be made in the country of origin.

After the approval by the Việt Nam’s Ministry of Transport of the VTA certified by the governments of Thailand and Indonesia, businesses have started importing the first batches of cars with the tax rate of zero per cent.

Insiders anticipated that Thai and Indonesian cars would enter the Vietnamese market on a large scale beginning in this April, triggering a surge in imported cars in the coming time.

This month witnessed the import of around 2,000 vehicles of Honda Motors from Thailand after the company stopped car exports to Việt Nam for more than a month. Car from other countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia are also expected to soon come to Việt Nam

Global automakers have been predicting that imports from Thailand and Indonesia would flood the Vietnamese market after the tax fell to zero, taking some of the wind out of the sails of domestic manufacturing and assembly, said auto expert Nguyễn Minh Đồng to Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

The GSO reported that about 5,000 cars worth US$115 million were imported to Việt Nam in March, marking an increase of 25 per cent in volume and 8.2 per cent in value as compared with February.

Loss of local budget

The 2017 budget revenue in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc, a hub of automobile manufacturing and assembly in Việt Nam, fell by VNĐ5 trillion (US$218.8 million), mainly from the auto sector due to the impact of reducing tariffs on ASEAN car imports to zero.

The information was released by Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Nguyễn Văn Trì at the conference on 2018 production and economic growth held in Hà Nội on March 30.

In 2016, the domestic revenue of Vĩnh Phúc Province reached VNĐ29.15 trillion, of which about 80 per cent was contributed by FDI enterprises. Especially, foreign-invested auto- and motorbike makers such as Toyota Motor Vietnam (TMV), Honda Vietnam and Piaggio Vietnam accounted for 80 per cent of the contribution of FDI enterprises.

Policies to develop the domestic automobile industry are necessary to encourage businesses such as TMV to develop manufacturing, said Trì.

In the northern province of Hải Dương where the Ford Vietnam plant is located, the fiscal year 2017 budget report shows that local budget deficits amounted to VNĐ1.57 trillion. FDI enterprises only contributed VNĐ3.57 trillion to provincial revenue, down VNĐ1.43 trillion from the year before. The fall was largely driven by the decision of Ford Vietnam, the key FDI enterprise in the province, to mostly consume imported vehicles instead of manufacturing. — VNS