The Ministry of Commerce in yet another policy shift announced that only cars of 2013 or above model years will be allowed to be imported starting from 2015-16 fiscal year.
Currently, the ministry allows imports of vehicles of 2000 or above model year – a rule that came into effect in January this year.
After witnessing changes in rules and regulations for vehicle imports nine times in the last three years, auto industry insiders demand that they should be informed in advance of any potential policy changes in the current fiscal year.
Frequent policy changes by the Ministry of Commerce and the Department of Inland Transport have created a lot of “complications and confusions” among vehicle importers, distributors and industry experts say.
“It is an international practice. The minimum model year increases every year,” told an official from the Ministry of Commerce.
Auto traders say the latest update of the policy will see increased return of old cars in lieu of import permit slips also known locally as “pink slips” and also rise in the prices of such slips, which are considered lucrative and traded unofficially in the auto market as it gives importers lower tax and tariff privileges.
The ministry is working together with the World Bank to draw up a policy on automobile imports to streamline the import regulations and alleviate Yangon’s traffic problems, U Win Myint, union minister for transport, said earlier.
Local and international experts and representatives from Yangon City Development Committee are involved in the process which is aimed to create a long term beneficial import policy.
Over 100,000 automobiles have been imported in 2012, 90 percent of which are registered in Yangon, according to data from the Road Transport Authority.