JIS News

The Government is exploring the possibility of importing damaged vehicles, which will be repaired in free-zone facilities for re-export, as part of a review of the motor vehicle policy now underway.
Minister of Industry, Investment, and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the announcement in his contribution to the 2009/10 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday (April 29).
In May 2008, Mr. Samuda announced a ban on the importation of damaged vehicles, with importers mandated to land all such units negotiated prior to that announcement by July 31. This deadline was however extended by two months.
The review will also include a re-examination of the regime implemented in September for the licensing of trucks, tractors, and other vehicles weighing three tonnes and more (unladen weight), follow concerns raised by regulatory stakeholders, regarding the age and safety of these units.
Mr. Samuda advised that consultations would be facilitated on the matter, and urged members of the private sector to participate.
Two reviews of the motor vehicle policy were carried out during the 2008/09 fiscal year.
On another matter, Mr. Samuda reported a 24 per cent decline in motor vehicle imports during the 2008/09 as against 2007/08. He informed the House that the Trade Board Limited (TBL) received 17,424 applications to import motor vehicles during 2008/09, down from 22,283 the previous year.
“This decrease is attributed to the economic downturn, coupled with the ban on imports of damaged vehicles. The economic downturn has not spared any sector, whether directly or indirectly. This includes new and used car dealers, who have reported declines in sales,” the Minister stated.
Meanwhile, the Trade Board facilitated product exports totalling US$245.7 million during 208/09, a 19 per cent increase over the previous year. According to Mr. Samuda, the main contributor was ethanol, which recorded a 137 per cent increase in exports to the United States, earning some US$130.7 million in the process.

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