foreign used cars

THE Ministry of Trade and Industry yesterday reminded all foreign used car dealers and individual importers of used cars that the expiry date for licences to import used right-hand-drive motor vehicles is December 31, 2021.

In a news release yesterday, the Ministry of Trade said it would not be revalidating import licences issued in 2021 to a date in 2022 for used right-hand-drive motor vehicles (sedans, station wagons and sports utility vehicles) which arrive after December 31, 2021.

The ministry reminded the foreign used car dealers that, since January 2021, the permissible age for the importation of used right-hand-drive motor vehicles was three years from the year of manufacture.

However, this is not sitting well with the Trinidad and Tobago Automotive Dealers Association (TTADA) as its president, Visham Babwah, accused the Government of being hell bent on destroying the foreign used car industry.

Babwah said it is unfortunate that the Minister of Trade and Industry, Paula Gopee-Scoon, did not extend the deadline knowing fully well there are several delays of cars arriving into the country, due to the pandemic.

“It’s all over news that there is congestion at the international ports and we would have thought that the minister would have given an extension, knowing the situation, as car dealers would have ordered vehicles since October and it may not arrive until January, as a result of the delays. Shipments which used to take one month are now taking up to three months.”

Babwah argued that the ministry has facilitated every other group in the country by giving grants to keep their businesses operational, but the same treatment is not being meted out to the foreign used car industry.

“The Government is hell bent on shutting down our industry, because all these measures the administration keeps imposing us are to pressure the car dealers out of business. Even to get a three-year-old car into this country is posing to be a great problem and the minister needs to revise this and give us back five to six-year-old imported cars. How the measures are now, it is forcing owners to go out of business.”

Babwah said this announcement will only cause anxiety and panic within the industry and he questioned where is the quota on the new car industry, that the Government said they would have also imposed two budgets ago.

“We have not heard anything about that, but yet still harsh measures are placed on us. I’m calling on the minister to deliberate on her position and include us in her discussions, as we have not been having meetings with her,” Babwah lamented.

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