RIA Import of cars to Kazakhstan has dropped almost 75-fold in 2012, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the Customs Control Commission of Kazakhstan Finance Ministry. According to the authority, 119,809 cars were imported to Kazakhstan for personal use in 2011 versus only 1,599 cars from January 1 to November 12, 2012.
Head of Kazakhstan Independent Car Union Eduard Edokov says that this trend is directly linked to the changes in the customs duties. Kazakhstan had discount customs duties on cars import in 2010-2011. On July 1, 2011 the duties went several time up.
According to the expert, the tendency of import decrease will remain even after Kazakhstan enters the WTO, when the duties will go down. "I am afraid that nothing will change. Russia entered the WTO and nothing changed. They will come up with some disposal duty or something like that. Legislation has to be harmonized within the Customs Union. It can't be that the duties are 30 percent in one country and 3 percent in another," Edokov says.
He explaines that lowering of duties is going to be compensated by new types of duties and it will not become any more profitable to import cars to Kazakhstan. "First of all, it is about following Russia's policies of limiting car import, because it protects its own car manufacturing industry. In my view, there has been and there is no car manufacturing industry in Kazakhstan. Its niche is mainly being filled with outdated Russian models. We have nothing to protect," the expert said.