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Auto Import Growth Slows Down in 1st 5 Months

Growth in China's auto imports slowed down in the first five months of this year, thanks largely to a compulsory coding system for standardizing vehicle purchase from abroad, according to General Administration of Customs.

The new import management system, which took effective in April, denies refitted and stolen motor vehicles access to the Chinese market.

Upon the tightened control, China's auto imports in April declined 7.5 percent from March level to 37,000 units, and in May, went further down 18 percent from April level to 31,000 units.

The customs said between January and May, China bought 171,000 motor vehicles from abroad, a growth of 59 percent on the same period of last year. The arrivals were valued at US$6.26 billion, up 74.9 percent. The import growth rate, however, was 15.7 percentage points lower than the first quarter level.

The total imports included 71,000 motor vehicles bought from Japan, up 100 percent, and 57,000 from the European Union, up 54 percent. The growth rates were 19 percentage points and 13 percentage points, respectively, lower than the first quarter level.

The January-May period saw off-road vehicles imports soar 91 percent to 87,000 units nationwide, or 50.9 percent of the total auto arrivals. The growth rate was 32 percentage points higher than that for the total imports, while the proportion was up from the 42.4 percent level a year earlier.

Car imports went up 29.6 percent to 65,000 units, or 38.2 percent of the total, down 8.7 percentage points.

(Xinhua News Agency July 14, 2008)

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