Ministry revises circular to simplify auto imports

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to abolish a number of procedures for importers of cars with nine seats or less to simplify imports.

The processes listed in the ministry’s Circular No 20/2011/TT-BTC, which took effect on June 26, 2011, are believed to have discouraged many car importers.

Under the MoIT’s revised circular issued on March 9, auto importers will be allowed to import cars with nine seats or less without having to authorise car manufacturers or dealers as their distributors in Việt Nam.

Importers will also not have to obtain certificates from the transport ministry proving that they are adequately qualified to do car guarantees and maintenance.

The revision is seen as a positive move by the MoIT as the old regulations were said to give preferential treatment to large-scale companies.

Earlier, when Circular No 20 was in effect, there were disagreements about its efficacy between the MoIT and other ministries and sectors, including Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Việt Nam Automobile Manufacturers Association and Việt Nam Association of Mechanical Industry.

Many experts argued that the circular was leading to business inequality, which is against the country’s larger efforts to create a better business environment. However, the MoIT had said that the circular was aimed at dealing with global carmakers who were frequently recalling vehicles because of manufacturing defects from around the world, but not from Việt Nam.

The circular also forced domestic distributors and representative car manufacturers to take responsibility for imported vehicles, the MoIT said. This was necessary to protect consumer interest and ensure road safety.


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