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Auto imports to be limited to major ports   2010-06-17 - VNS

All automobiles with a capacity of 16 or fewer passengers will be imported through only five international seaports with tightened customs clearance procedures.

A new joint circular issued by the ministries of Industry and Trade, Transport and Finance on Monday stipulates that only Cai Lan Port in the northeastern province of Quang Ninh and the ports of Hai Phong, Da Nang, HCM City and Ba Ria-Vung Tau will be eligible to conduct customs procedures for these vehicles. The new circular, which takes effect on July 29, will also require automobiles be certified for quality, safety and environmental protection standards by the Viet Nam Registration Office, with such certificates to be issued within 10 business days of the time the vehicles are inspected. Inspections will be conducted in conformity with Ministry of Transport regulations.

The new policy is seen as an effort to limit auto imports which have become an increasing component of nation's current trade deficit. The Ministry of Industry and Trade has estimated that auto imports contribute as much as US$12 billion to the annual trade deficit.

In the first five months of this year, the number of imported cars increased to 18,000 units, 2.1 per cent higher than in same period last year, according to the General Statistics Office.

Viet Nam will fully open its market to auto imports by 2018 under a trade liberalisation commitment in the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA).

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