Importers: No plan to send back 400 used cars from Japan

By Perseus Echeminada, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 23 2013 08:27 AM | Updated as of Feb 23 2013 04:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Automotive Rebuilding Industry of Cagayan (ARIC) clarified yesterday that there is no plan to re-export the 400 used vehicles from Japan that will arrive today at the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) in Port Irene in Santa Ana, Cagayan.

“As owners of the imported vehicles, re-exportation is not among our options,” ARIC president Jaime Vicente said amid reports that the used cars will be re-exported by CEZA instead of selling them locally.

Apart from the 400 second-hand vehicles that will arrive today, 200 used cars had also arrived at CEZA last Feb. 16, but these were held by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) following a Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of Executive Order 156 issued by President Arroyo in 2002, which bans the importation of second-hand vehicles.

Vicente insisted the importation of the vehicles is supported by the necessary permits issued by CEZA and is authorized by Executive Order 418, subsequently issued by President Arroyo in 2005, which allowed such importation but detailed the duties to be applied on used cars.

CEZA administrator Jose Marie Ponce said on Thursday that they are considering exporting the used vehicles either to Africa or Bangladesh following the government’s refusal to issue clearance for registration of the shipment.

Vicente said the same procedures have been adopted in the importation of more than 5,000 used cars last year that were reconditioned.

The vehicles’ tariff duties were paid before they were registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO), he added.

Vicente also said the ARIC imports affordable but quality and decent cars for ordinary Filipinos instead of luxury vehicles.

Meanwhile, hotel and tourism industry operators at CEZA yesterday lamented that they have had fewer car dealer customers since the decision to confine the imported vehicles within CEZA. – With Charlie Lagasca, Raymund Catindig