Chinese trucks flood Vietnamese market
By Tao Jun, Dong Hua
HO CHI MINH CITY, April 19 (Xinhua) — Chinese, Thai and South Korean automobiles have dominated the Vietnamese market, mainly due to reasonable prices, especially those of Chinese vehicles and lower import taxes.
As import taxes on Chinese tractor trailers and semi-trailers are zero percent now, it is easier for Chinese vehicles, well-known for their reasonable prices for years, to penetrate into the Vietnamese market more deeply, automobile dealers in Hanoi capital and northern Hai Phong city told Xinhua recently.
Along National Road No.5 stretching from Hanoi to Hai Phong, numerous Chinese tractor trailers, both brand new and second-hand, are on display.
“A new tractor trailer imported from China currently sells for just over 1 billion Vietnamese dong (some 44,500 U.S. dollars), or two-thirds of selling prices of South Korean or Thai vehicles of the same kind. That’s why they are selling like hot cakes,”a salesman of Hanoi-based Long Bien Auto Trading Company, who identified himself as Dung, told Xinhua on Monday.
Second-hand Chinese tractor trailers branded Dongfeng, Howo or Foton are priced just around 800 million Vietnamese dong (about 35,600 U.S. dollars), Dung said, noting that they have attracted many local transport firms.
“Ordinary trucks can carry only 11-14 tons of cargoes. Therefore, many transport companies are willing to pour money into buying imported tractor trailers and semi-trailers because they can carry up to 40 tons,” the salesman said.
Road transport handles hundreds of millions of tons of cargoes, or nearly 80 percent of total cargoes in Vietnam, each year, said a Vietnamese transport firm in Hai Phong. Therefore, for large volumes of cargoes transported on long routes, using heavy trucks and tractor trailers are most economically effective, said the firm.
Imports of heavy trucks and tractor trailers over the past few years have always seen three-digit growth, according to data compiled by Vietnamese media. Last year, Vietnam imported some 20,000 tractor trailers, including 12,000 second-hand ones, mostly from China.
Vietnamese firms also assemble trucks, but their prices are some 15 percent higher than those of Chinese imports, many local automobile dealers told Xinhua, adding that such trucks are often assembled from Chinese components.
Recently, the Vietnam Association of Mechanical Industry has proposed the Finance Ministry reduce import taxes on components of tractor trailers and semi-trailer to zero percent from the current 7.5 percent, and increase tariffs on imported trucks to encourage domestic production.
In the first quarter of this year, Thailand overtook, for the first time, China and South Korea which have supplied most of automobiles of various kinds to Vietnam for decades. Thailand exported over 7,800 automobiles to Vietnam between January and March, posting a year-on-year surge of 64.5 percent, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Meanwhile, Vietnam imported 3,560 automobiles from South Korea, and 2,260 vehicles from China, experiencing respective declines of 41 percent and 58 percent.
Vietnam is importing more Thai automobiles mainly because of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement which is designed to gain free flow of goods in the region, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance.
Through the agreement, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand have eliminated intra-ASEAN import duties on 99.65 percent of their tariff lines. Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam have reduced their import duties to 0-5 percent on 98.86 percent of their tariff lines.
The Finance Ministry said that from 2016, import taxes on automobiles within ASEAN countries slumped to 40 percent from 50 percent. The taxes will fall to 30 percent in 2017 and zero percent in 2018. Due to lower tariffs, automobile imports from such ASEAN state members as Thailand and Indonesia to Vietnam are surging.
According to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, the country imported over 19,700 automobiles in the first quarter of this year, down 16.8 percent. Imports of most kinds of automobiles, excluding trucks, declined in the three-month period.
Specifically, Vietnam imported 9,860 trucks from January to March, up 16 percent; nearly 6,900 automobiles with nine seats downward, down 37.6 percent, and over 3,000 vehicles of other kinds, down 45.6 percent.