The lack of customs regulations is allowing the entry of expired and badly-stored tyres to the Kingdom while creating unfair competition among tyre dealers and shortening the life span of vehicles, industry sources said on Saturday.
The dealers are calling on the Customs Department and the Institution of standards and Metrology to set guidelines that specify the manufacturing date and the dot number of the tyre before allowing it to enter into the Jordanian market.
Such steps are deemed necessary to curb road accidents in a country with one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world, said the dealers.
According to a 1999 study conducted by the Directorate of Public Security on traffic accidents in Jordan, worn out tyres were blamed for 54.8 percent of the 50,330 traffic accidents.
Dealers said that cooperation with governmental bodies guidelines is essential to having healthy competition in a free market economy.
“There are no regulations that ban the entry of expired tyres,” said Ragheb Halasa, agent of Turkish Lassa tyres.
“Some dealers purchase expired tyres from the country's Free Trade Zones and issue phony bills so that they pay less custom duties.”
In this way, he added, they compete with authorized agents and cause losses to the Kingdom's treasury.
The road-worthiness of a tyre is based, among other things, on its manufacturing date. According to international standards a tyre should not be more than four years old and should be stored in a humid-free environment.
According to Yanal Bustami, of the Car Dealers and Spare Parts Association, unauthorized dealers purchase their stock of tyres from the rich-oil Gulf states at lucrative prices, disregarding the year of manufacturing.
“Despite paying similar tariffs, unauthorized dealers sell their stock of goods at reduced prices which creates unhealthy competition,” said Bustami, also deputy chairman of the Amman-based Chamber of Commerce.
He said customers who buy tyres from these dealers are not covered by the manufactures warranty.
“Besides, it will harm the reputation of the authorized tyre dealer,” he told the Jordan Times.
Andrawes Shamieh owner and director general of Elias and Sons Ltd. — dealer of Toyo tyres, Japan — pointed out that unauthorized dealers import used tyres in the pretence of rethreading them, but end up selling the tyres without fixing them, an illegal practice in the Kingdom.
Shamieh said tyres purchased by unauthorized dealers do not have a seal from Japan, the European Union or the United States.
“We asked the Customs Department to use the price list of the authorized tyre dealers and charge tariffs for any client accordingly,” he said.
“We also want the government to ban the entry of expired tyres,” he added.
“The Customs Department has showed a willingness to cooperate, but the Free Trade Area is for private investors.”
A five-member committee comprised of tyre agents from the country's 40 main dealers have asked the Customs Department and representatives of the Free Trade Zones to assist them in their efforts to regulate the industry.
He added that citizens lack basic information — tyre speed limits, type, required pressure that suits the car model and the year of manufacturing — about tyres.
Department of Customs officials could not be reached directly for comment. — ( Jordan Times )
By Suha Ma'ayeh
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)