Imported luxury cars clear customs block

Update: June, 07/2014 - 10:10
The Ministry of Construction will create favourable conditions for businesses to produce unbaked building materials. — Photo

HCM CITY (VNS)  — Nearly 2,000 cars, many of them stuck at ports since 2011 when new regulations were imposed, are expected to be cleared for import after the Ministry of Industry and Trade decided to allow a one-time waiver for their importers.

The ministry has instructed the General Customs Department to relax the regulation for importers with import contracts and vouchers signed before Circular No 20//2011/TT-BTC, which took effect in June 2011.

The circular brought more restrictions on imported automobiles with nine or fewer seats to protect consumers' interests and make roads safer.

It required importers to provide additional documents showing they were appointed as an importer or distributor or given power of attorney by carmakers.

The importers also have to provide car warranty and maintenance papers to buyers as stipulated by the Ministry of Transport.

Once the circular took effect, thousands of vehicles were held up at ports because the importers could not produce the papers required to clear them.

The MoIT has finally acted to clear the logjam, but the importers and analysts are pessimistic.

The luxury car market cannot take the simultaneous entry of 2,000 cars, they feared.

The importers said it would be difficult for them to sell the vehicles.

Nguyen The Hung, director of Kylin GX 688 Company, said: "At the time I signed contracts many models I planned to import were unique and rare and so I expected to sell them at high prices.

"But now these models are sold widely in the domestic market.

"Due to the delay, the prices of many imported cars are now much higher than that of domestic ones.

"In addition, import duties are also very high. This means it will be very difficult for us to sell them. An imported Camry 2.0 now has a similar price to that of a locally-made Camry 2.4."

Analysts concurred, adding that the Vietnamese market can only consume around 5,000 luxury cars a year. — VNS