Boom in import of used automobiles of foreign make is over at sea custom-houses of Far East

The boom in the import of used foreign-made automobiles from Japan ended at the sea custom-houses of the Far East on Wednesday. Despite the fact that by an ordinance of head of the State Customs Committee (GTK) of Russia Mikhail Vanin the deadline for finishing drawing up documents for them was put off from October 1st to 4th, the berths and the customs warehouses are empty. In the whole region there are ten or twenty automobiles the documents for which were not drawn up before October 1.

As chief of the Vladivostok custom-house Sergei Yeroshenko told RIA Novosti, in the last days of September the customs officers worked till 22-23 o'clock. According to the preliminary data, about 8,500 motor vehicles passed through the Vladivostok custom-house alone in September. This is double the usual figure. The documents for about 2,500 foreign-made automobiles were drawn up during the last week alone. The monthly figure of the remittance of money to the state budget nearly hit the mark of 500,000 U.S. dollars.

From October 4 the duties on more than 7-year-old automobiles are to increase by 200 per cent on average. For instance, it will be necessary to pay 3,490 dollars for a small two-door Suzuki Escudo jeep instead of the former 1,347 dollars, and 11,980 instead of 4,270 dollars for a Land Cruiser Prado. Yeroshenko noted that the increase of the duties most of all adversely affects the middle class.

In his opinion, the budget will also have "to tighten the belt" because the custom's transfer of money received from the making out of documents will sizeably diminish. According to the approximate calculations, the Vladivostok custom-house will lose approximately 165 million roubles a month which makes up 40 per cent of the monthly customs payments that were collected before October.

In connection with the imposition of the new duties on foreign-made automobiles over 7 years of age which were very popular among common people because of their relatively low prices and high quality, the sociologists of the Maritime Territory polled 2,454 inhabitants of it. According to the poll, 63 per cent of the pollees said that they own automobiles, with 71 per cent saying that they have import motor vehicles.

As many as 96.5 per cent of the pollees negatively assessed the prohibitive measures. As many as 1 per cent of the residents of the Territory who participated in the poll approved the imposition of the new duties. Asked who will gain from such development of the situation, 53.4 per cent answered that the Russian auto industry stands to gain from it, and 5.4 per cent of the pollees believe that such a ban will benefit no one.

In the view of the inhabitants of the Territory, motorists themselves can really protect the owners of import automobiles - 45.7 per cent of the pollees voiced this opinion. Boycott of the national census was mentioned most frequently (72.6 per cent) among moves to express discontent with the increased duties. As many as 15,2 per cent are ready to participate in meetings and strikes, 6.3 per cent proposed holding a referendum on this subject, and 3 per cent believe that any actions are useless.

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