NEW TAX EX­EMP­TIONS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY CARS

OF­FI­CIAL CUS­TOMS CHANGE FOR ELEC­TRIC AND HY­BRID VE­HI­CLES

Executive Magazine - - Executive Life - Words by Olga Habre

on April 19, the Bud­get Law ap­peared in Le­banon’s Of cial Gazette, with Ar­ti­cle 55 stat­ing that eco-friendly cars, in­clud­ing hy­brids and elec­tric ve­hi­cles EV , will now have re­duced cus­toms duties and ex­cise taxes when en­ter­ing the Le­banese mar­ket. The day be­fore, Min­is­ter of En­ergy and Wa­ter Ce­sar Abi Khalil an­nounced the news for the rst time in a speech at the An­to­nine Univer­sity. Speak­ing to Ex­ec­u­tive magazine, ad­vi­sor to the Association des Im­por­ta­teurs d’Au­to­mo­biles au Liban AIA Se­lim Saad con rmed the news, adding that it was thanks to their lob­by­ing e orts that the rul­ing is now in e ect.

Cur­rently, Le­banese car buy­ers pay 20 per­cent cus­toms duty on ve­hi­cles that are val­ued up to LL20,000,000 13,333 , and 50 per­cent on those val­ued higher.

This new law means that buy­ers wish­ing to pur­chase a hy­brid ve­hi­cle will now have to pay only 20 per­cent cus­toms for a ve­hi­cle of any value, if that ve­hi­cle is for pri­vate use, and 10 per­cent for pub­lic use. Mean­while, EVs will be ex­empted from cus­toms al­to­gether. Like­wise, for both hy­brids and EVs, own­ers do not pay reg­is­tra­tion nor the rst Me­canique fees.

These in­cen­tives are de nitely en­cour­ag­ing for those look­ing to pur­chase eco-friendly ve­hi­cles in Le­banon. Hy­brid cars are al­ready sold here, and one hopes the cus­toms cut will have a positive e ect on sales. How­ever EVs are not yet sold in Le­banon, and the law raises a lot of ques­tions about how a coun­try with such poor in­fras­truc­ture will be able to deal with the tech­nol­ogy that’s re­quired to power the ve­hi­cles.

If EVs are to en­ter the Le­banese mar­ket, deal­ers and other en­ti­ties in the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor need to gure out so­lu­tions to a host of chal­lenges, such as the need for charg­ing sta­tions through­out the coun­try, as well as to deal with some of the ve­hi­cles’ other high-tech fea­tures, like self-driv­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties which rely on dig­i­tal maps. Most peo­ple that have tried to use Google Maps and its coun­ter­parts in Le­banon know that the strug­gle is real, while o en the roads in­di­cated are not, which would be a ma or prob­lem when a car re­lies on this tech­nol­ogy to drive. Le­banon would also need tech­ni­cal ser­vice ca­pac­ity build­ing in main­te­nance and repair by deal­ers, fur­ther in­cen­tives in terms of park­ing and in­sur­ance pro­vi­sion, as well as pub­lic aware­ness cam­paigns to spread the mes­sage about the bene ts of EVs. The new tax ex­emp­tions are a great step for­ward, but they will re­quire ad­di­tional e orts if they are go­ing to be e ec­tive at all.

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