YANGON, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is encouraging the development of automobile assembly industry, allowing auto manufacturers to import products that are essential to make vehicles in the country.
According to the Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicle Imports and Related Business Monday, between April 2018 and January 2019, the committee has allowed eight auto manufacturers to import such products.
Than Myint, Minister of Commerce and the committee's chairman, stressed the need to give priority to investors who offer technological assistance through assembling and manufacturing their products in accordance with Myanmar Investment Commission's rules and regulations.
He disclosed that about 120 car sale centers with 44 showrooms had been opened as of May this year.
The committee has outlined a new auto import policy for 2019, saying that only vehicles with left-hand drive can be imported to suit the country's traffic route direction.
Besides, 2016 vehicle will be the oldest to be issued a permit for private cars with non-commercial purpose under consignment system, the committee said in a latest announcement, adding that passenger vehicles such as mini-bus, city bus, express bus and commercial trucks manufactured in 2015 and later can be imported.
The committee also sets 2007 or later for manufacturing year for fire trucks and ambulances to be imported and will allow heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, wheel loaders and tower cranes to be brought in as long as they are 15 years old or less.
Most of the local people reflected that they still cannot buy brand-new car due to high prices.
According to market survey, some people choose an installment plan in the automobile market while many still buy second-hand cars.
However, impacted by the new car import policy starting this year, Myanmar's second-hand car sale centers are likely to close down as these kinds of cars are mostly right-hand drive which will be no longer allowed.
At present, vehicles imported under a system of vehicle assembly, known as Completely Knock-Down (CKD) or Semi Knock-Down (SKD), are on the upward trend with the U.S. dollar exchange rate appreciation and Myanmar currency depreciation and cars installed locally are expected to get more market share in 2019.
Meanwhile, Myanmar's Internal Revenue Department announced earlier that it will collect advanced income tax by 15 percent for vehicles imported through normal trade, while 2 percent be on those imported for industrial use via border trade.