Car importers lament dumping
of used vehicles in Malta
automobile importers yesterday made an environmental case against the
dumping of second-hand cars from the Far East, which they
claim are enjoying fiscal incentives and being sold at cheaper prices
than first-hand cars, despite being more environmentally harmful.
Speaking for the owners of first-hand car importing agencies, lawyer
Georg Sapiano said second-hand cars were being imported to Malta from
the Far East with importers paying up to Lm900 less in tax than first-hand
"Having cars which have reached the end-of-life threshold in their
countries of origin and then imported in Malta through fiscal incentives
is certainly detrimental to our environment." Dr Sapiano said cars
in Japan become costlier to maintain as they get older, the result of
which is that they end up being exported to Malta as used vehicles.
The practice is similarly adopted by the Singaporean government, which
buys used vehicles and then sells them to third-world countries.
"This is the same practice which is happening now, except that
the third-world country this time is Malta. Used vehicle importers have
no costs such as after-sales support, and instead have fiscal incentives
which allow them to pay less tax on the cars they import. First-hand
car importers have showrooms which they pay permits for, whilst used
vehicle sellers just plant their cars on pavements, which is also detrimental
to the environment," Dr Sapiano said.
The association for car importers said Government should be offering
incentives to make first-hand cars cheaper. Discussion between the Used
Vehicles Importers Association (UVIA) and the Transport Authority officials
were just recently in progress on the conditions regarding the importation
of second-hand vehicles from Japan.
Used vehicles are today under new regulations demanding a European
certification of standards for the vehicles, in order to improve road
safety and also ensure cleaner emissions. New obligations will have
to be fulfilled by second-hand car importers to produce a single vehicle
type approval certificate.
However, second-hand cars will not incur higher tariffs for importation.
Dr Georg Sapiano said these cars are usually scrapped when they have
exceeded their end-of-life threshold. These are then re-sold outside
Around 16 importers of second-hand Japanese vehicles operate on the
island, with around 3,500 vehicles imported every year. The cheaper
prices make the second-hand car business a lucrative one, as well as
one with the lowest costs within the automobile sector.
Second-hand vehicles from Japan have to undergo a new type of certification
before being shipped from Japan to Malta. VCA, the Vehicle Certification
Agency, is the UK government authority for the approval of motor vehicles
and components. Also based in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the VCA offers
certification for vehicle and component manufacturers. The VCA was recommended
to the UVIA after the agency conducted inspections on Maltas newly-imported
buses. Reportedly, VCA standards are higher Maltas own VRT, and
are supposed to ensure that all second-hand cars being imported into
Malta are of a high and adequate standard. The move is set to ensure
an off-limits certification test that should bypass any form of wrangling
inherent within the islands VRT tests.