Mar 31, 2013

Vietnam - Viet Kieu repatriates’ car imports waiting for re-export

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VietNamNet Bridge – The luxurious cars, which were imported to Vietnam as the Viet Kieu repatriates’ assets, now are awaiting to be re-exported, after state management agencies have threatened to clarify the real origins of the imports.

Tran Thi TT in HCM City has asked for the permission of the customs agencies to re-export a Lexus ES350, made in 2012 and brought to Vietnam in early 2013.

Tran Thi TT is a Viet Kieu (overseas Vietnamese) who has both Vietnamese and US nationalities. TT said she has decided to re-export the Lexus car to the US, because she fears that it would take her too much time to have the information about the cars to be verified by the competent agencies before they grant licenses.

“This would have negative influences to my works. Besides, I would have to pay for the storage fee, which is really costly,” she said.

“The car, while being kept at the storehouse, may get broken down and rusty. A lot of other risks may also occur,” she continued.

The Viet Kieu has shown a strong determination to re-export the car to the US, committing to pay all kinds of fees as stipulated by the laws.

A customs official, who asked to be anonymous, said customs agencies have received some proposals like TT’s recently. Especially, the petitions mostly come from Viet Kieu, and the cars were imported by the Viet Kieu as their private assets.

He said that it’s not by chance that the proposals have been made recently, after the state management agencies announced they would take drastic measures to clarify the real origins of the car imports and stop the illegal imports.

Under the Circular No. 118 of the Ministry of Finance, every Viet Kieu repatriate can bring with himself to Vietnam a car that he is using. The car would be exempted from the import tax and the VAT.

The preferences, plus the tightening over the car imports both have prompted people to forge documents of Viet Kieu repatriates to evade tax when bringing luxury cars to Vietnam.

Local newspapers have reported that many rings that bring the cars to Vietnam under forged documents have been found. Every Viet Kieu can receive up to $8,000 for “leasing” his name to the rings which then bring cars to Vietnam.

The rings have been found out after the police discovered some “abnormal things” in the car imports. Some old people, for example, have been found as bringing high cylinder capacity (over 175 cc) motorbikes to Vietnam.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has noted the sharp increase in the number of luxury cars imported to Vietnam recently. In the first 11 months of 2012 alone, 70 luxury cars of Viet Kieu repatriates were allowed to enter Vietnam, the number that 4.7 times higher than that in 2011 and six times than that in 2010.

The Ministries of Public security and the General Department of Customs, while reviewing the luxurious car imports, said they saw the “boom” of luxurious imports in 2012.

Local customs agencies, port authorities and public security departments in six provinces and cities, including Hanoi, HCM City, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Quang Ninh and Ba Ria-Vung Tau have joined forces to hold in custody the motorbikes and cars which have arrived at ports. The vehicle importers have been declared as the assets of Viet Kieu repatriates.

Compiled by C. V

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