New reg­u­la­tions for car im­ports

Qual­ity con­trol to al­low cars with cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions to be im­ported into Kur­dis­tan

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE -

The Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of the KRG came to a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to hold car im­ports for the pe­riod of two weeks, in an at­tempt to give suf­fi­cient time for the fi­nal­iza­tion of the new reg­u­la­tions and to en­force them for any fu­ture im­port ac­tiv­i­ties within the re­gion. This ini­tia­tive was re­ported to have im­pacted the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket in the re­gion sig­nif­i­cantly as stake­hold­ers were left un­in­formed about the fu­ture reg­u­la­tions and reg­is­tra­tion prices, which were ex­pected to change as per the government’s ini­tia­tive.

Kur­dis­tan Re­gional Government (KRG) sets new reg­u­la­tions for the car im­port ac­tiv­i­ties in Kur­dis­tan Re­gion.

The Coun­cil of Min­is­ters of the KRG came to a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to hold car im­ports for the pe­riod of two weeks, in an at­tempt to give suf­fi­cient time for the fi­nal­iza­tion of the new reg­u­la­tions and to en­force them for any fu­ture im­port ac­tiv­i­ties within the re­gion. This ini­tia­tive was re­ported to have im­pacted the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket in the re­gion sig­nif­i­cantly as stake­hold­ers were left un­in­formed about the fu­ture reg­u­la­tions and reg­is­tra­tion prices, which were ex­pected to change as per the government’s ini­tia­tive.

Con­se­quently trad­ing ac­tiv­i­ties have slowed down in Er­bil and the ma­jor­ity of trans­ac­tions are on se­cond­hand cars im­ported from Gulf coun­tries. The de­ci­sion has im­pacted car deal­ers sig­nif­i­cantly. “Be­fore the de­ci­sion by the government, I used to strike seven deals per day, at the very least” said As­sad Bl­bas, a car dealer in Er­bil. He went on to ex­plain “How­ever, since then I have not been able to sold more than two cars per day”.

Ris­ing prices

Bl­bas says the prices of cars have in­creased due to the new de­vel­op­ments. “Prices for small cars have in­creased by up to US$ 500, while SUV’s have in­creased by at least US$ 5,000 or more”. He ex­plained to the Kur­dish Globe that “this is be­cause peo­ple are not sure what the new reg­u­la­tions will be like, and they’re un­aware about the changes that will be made to reg­is­tra­tion fees and pro­ce­dures”.

An un­for­tu­nate cus­tomer is Reb­war Hus­sein, who wants to buy a small econ­omy car, but is un­able to find what he was able to just one month ago. He has US$ 10,000 and wants a de­cent car, and is frus­trated by the new reg­u­la­tions. He says, “If I had this money last month, I would now own a de­cent car. What­ever car I have looked at, and want is more than US$ 10,000”. He was ex­hausted af­ter look­ing through dozens of cars, only to come to a dis­ap­point­ing end.

Traders have ex­plained that the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket is suf­fer­ing for an­other rea­son. The num­ber of Arab buy­ers are de­creas­ing since the prices of cars in Kur­dis­tan re­gion have al­most reached the prices in other coun­tries, and be­cause the prices are in­creas­ing there is less en­cour­age­ment for Arab buy­ers to pur­chase in this re­gion.

Re­ac­tions to new changes

Na­jat Mo­hammed, owner of Shi­mal Car show­room, be­lieves that car im­ports should be con­trolled and re­stricted for health, safety and traf­fic rea­sons. “All cars should go through qual­ity con­trol be­fore be­ing al­lowed into the re­gion,” Mo­hammed told the Globe.

Dr. Muayad Ab­dur­rah­man, Chair­man of Kur­dis­tan Re­gion’s Stan­dard­iza­tion and Qual­ity Con­trol Board, had pre­vi­ously ex­plained that start­ing from early March im­ports will re­sume with the new reg­u­la­tions. Ac­cord­ing to Ab­dur­rah­man, the Re­gion’s de­mand level should be con­sid­ered when im­port­ing cars, and it will no longer be al­lowed that cars are im­ported out of con­trol and in enor­mous quan­ti­ties.

Ibrahim Haji dis­agrees with Mo­hammed, and be­lieves th­ese new pro­ce­dures and reg­u­la­tions pres­sur­izes peo­ple that own cars, and says “they will do noth­ing good ex­cept harm the pub­lic. He is a car dealer, and ex­plained that it is not just the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket that will suf­fer, but the pub­lic will suf­fer with them.

Im­ports to re­sume soon

Safin Diza­yee, Of­fi­cial Spokesper­son of the KRG an­nounced on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 28th, that the coun­cil of min­is­ters will en­dorse the new reg­u­la­tions in their next ses­sion.

Diza­yee stated in an in­ter­view with a lo­cal Kur­dish news agency that all the con­di­tions, reg­u­la­tions and pro­ce­dures for qual­ity con­trol and im­ports of cars have been set by the com­mit­tee, con­sist­ing of Min­is­ters of In­te­rior, Plan­ning and Trade and In­dus­try as well as a num­ber of ex­perts.

“The pro­ce­dures are com­pre­hen­sive and de­tailed, so no fur­ther dis­cus­sions are ex­pected,” Diza­yee told the news agency. “In the next ses­sion of the min­is­te­rial coun­cil the new set of reg­u­la­tions will be put on vote and im­ports will re­sume based on the new pro­ce­dures.”

New qual­ity con­trol stan­dards

Dr. Ab­dur­rah­man ex­plained that ac­cord­ing to the new reg­u­la­tions, only cars with Gulf spec­i­fi­ca­tions can be im­ported, since Kur­dis­tan’s weather and con­di­tions are sim­i­lar to those of the Gulf Re­gion.

Other re­quire­ments for im­ports in­clude ABS break­ing sys­tems, and in­clu­sion of war­ranties.

Mas­sive num­bers of cars have been im­ported into Kur­dis­tan dur­ing the past few years with­out any qual­ity re­stric­tions.

Statis­tics avail­able at the Traf­fic Po­lice Di­rec­torate show that there are cur­rently more than 1 mil­lion cars in the re­gion, with a pop­u­la­tion of slightly above 5 mil­lion.

Huge num­ber of low qual­ity cars com­bined with bad traf­fic and road con­di­tions have cost the re­gion large num­ber of lives. Only in 2012, 760 peo­ple have lost lives in traf­fic ac­ci­dents and around 8 thou­sand oth­ers have been dis­abled or in­jured. This is in ad­di­tion to vast eco­nomic losses.

A truck wih a num­ber of newly im­ported cars ar­rives at the ware­house of a large au­tomi­tive trad­ing com­pany in Er­bil, March 13, 2012.

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