Auto importers file suit against Jordanian cabinet

Published November 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Having exhausted virtually all “possible” channels to compel the government to reverse its recent ruling on unified customs duty on new and used cars, the Jordan Free Zones Investors Association filed a lawsuit against the Cabinet recently.  


According to head of the association, Hassan Bitouni, the association filed the case in the Higher Court of Justice in an effort to obtain a reversal of the August 30 ruling.  


The investors repeatedly have demanded that cars which were imported, whether those already in the zone or on their way to it, before August 30 be excluded from the unified scaling system imposed on both new and old cars.  


Khaled Wazani, Customs Department director general, commented that it is the right of any citizen to pursue their demands through official and democratic means, while reiterating that the controversial amendment was “legal.”  


The government has been under heavy fire for adopting three different decisions on car customs tariffs in less than one year. Last year, the government decided to allow used cars of any age to enter Jordan, contradicting an earlier decision, which restricted the import of used cars to those manufactured within the past five years. It also introduced a scaled customs reduction on cars up to seven years old that ranged from 15 percent to five percent.  


Also, in July the Cabinet approved a decision granting secondhand vehicles greater customs reduction, but considered as equals cars manufactured in 1995 or before. The situation of investors was eased by the stipulation of the July-amendment that excluded autos that were parked in the zone or on their way to it prior to the package.  


However, the latest amendment has nullified this advantage. Before resorting to legal action, investors have made many attempts to facilitate the abrogation of the latest ruling, including meeting with several ministers and lawmakers to explain their position and the difficulties it has caused them in their livelihood.  


They have also appealed to King Abdullah to do justice by directing the government to apply its decision taken on July 16, where the advantage was in effect. Officials have reiterated that the decision is in the national interest, as it will prevent the country from becoming a dump for jalopies. — ( Jordan Times )  


By Rana Awwad

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