Saturday, August 15, 2009

New National Automobile Policy by end Sept 2009

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is expecting to finalise the review of the National Automotive Policy by the end of next month, according to a report from Bernama.

The NAP review will take into account the various automotive policies worldwide, including Thailand's, which ha
s been highly successful.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed said that Thailand, known as the "Detroit of Asia", had a sound automotive policy, and that "we acknowledge Thailand's strength in the industry; it started late but is now a giant in the field," he told Malaysian journalists in Bangkok, where he is attending the 41st Asean Economic Ministers Meeting.

Thailand, which does not have a nationa
l carmaker, has 14 automobile assembly plants owned by major automotive manufacturers; these produce a total of 1.2mil vehicles a year, with more than 50% of production exported to over 100 countries annually.

Mustapa did not elaborate on the possible changes in the revised policy. The DPM, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had said in May that the Malaysian automotive industry needed to be energised and revitalised to boost investment, and it is believed that Malaysia wants to remove rules which protect the auto industry from foreign competition in order to achieve this aim.

When the NAP came into place in 2006, the government reduced import taxes on most imported vehicles and lowered car prices in an attempt to make the country a regional auto hub, though this has not happened; critics have voiced that there are still barriers to protect Proton and Perodua, the national carmakers.

He noted the policy was important due to the crucial nature of the industry that employs some 120,000 people and is key to the country’s industrialisation programme. “Now we are going through a difficult period, therefore we need to build up our capacity. We also have to position ourselves to meet future challenges. We have to be in-line with current global developments,” he added.

“We have to re-examine who qualifies to retain incentives from the government and are cars within Asean allowed into Malaysia with only five per cent duty because before this, there was no differentiation between cars manufactured in Asean and Europe,” he

Mustapa also hinted that the government plans to liberalise the auto industry in the near future and is confident that the national automaker is able to overcome the challenges.
“We have opened up over the years. We started with very high tariffs. It was a very protected market but it is now more and more open.

The competition is good and I think Proton is ready to face the challenges of intense competition. That is the name of the game. You must be able to compete and be efficient.

So in terms of going forward, I think Proton has done a lot in the last few years in enhancing its competitive position and I know that Proton will continue to do that,” he concluded.

it'll be interesting to see what changes come about in the review. :)

source : the star, asean auto biz

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