Auto imports on sound footing
The Ministry of Commerce said yesterday that the nation's new method of overseeing auto imports had worked well in its first month of implementation.
The import permits are granted to the qualified sellers with licences granted by car makers.
According to the ministry's statistics, it issued permits worth more than US$7 billion last month.
Imports of auto components were granted licenses worth US$4.5 billion, or 64.1 per cent of the total. Licenses were granted to 43,362 vehicles worth US$1.9 billion, accounting for some 27 per cent.
"The figures include the vehicles with quotas reserved from last year," said Li Minglin, director of the ministry's department of mechanic and electronic product exports and imports. "So it is hard to compare them with those of last year."
The director said this new mechanism is aimed mainly at monitoring China's imports of autos and their components.
The new method is also a way to enhance the brand sales of cars in China.
According to the auto industry development policy implemented in June last year, brand sales must be realized for all automobiles made in China in 2006.
"This strategy will reduce the number of car sellers and strengthen the management of the sales channels of automobiles," said Jia Xinguang, an analyst at the China National Automotive Industry Consulting and Development Corp.
For example, only a fraction of the current more than 2,000 auto dealers in Beijing will be granted licences to sell cars.
"In addition, it will better protect the benefits of consumers because it ensures people's purchases of cars are legal," Li said.
The ministry is working on a regulation on the importing of automobile components, under which the same tariff will be imposed on imports of some key components as is imposed on completed vehicles.
The regulation covers the following components that can be used to assemble whole vehicles in China:
Engines and auto bodies;
Engines and any three or more of a combination of transmissions, driving axles, driven axles, chassis, steering systems, braking systems and air conditioning systems;
Auto bodies and any three or more of a combination of transmissions, driving axles, driven axles, chassis, steering systems, braking systems and air conditioning systems;
Any five or more of a combination of transmissions, driving axles, driven axles, chassis, steering systems, braking systems and air conditioning systems.
This move has aroused great concerns among domestic and overseas auto makers because of the gap between tariffs on completed vehicles and components.
China's tariffs on the imports of completed vehicles and components will be reduced to 25 per cent and 15 per cent by the middle of 2006.
Experts believe this new policy is a measure to push foreign auto makers to increase the local content of their cars made in China despite cancelling the requirement on the content rate of cars made in China.
However, Jia said, the implementation of this policy requires hard work by China's Customs because it must monitor the imports, transportation and assembly of the components.