Thailand wants Vietnam to lift non-tariff barriers on its completely built-up car units (CBU).
Earlier this year, the Vietnamese government had stiffened inspections on all CBUs, which are completely assembled units ready to export.
The new restriction requires CBUs to pass environmental and emissions tests done by a Vietnamese laboratory.
However, Vietnam lacks the laboratory facilities to handle a large number of cars, and the move could be a new measure to block car imports, a Bangkok Post article said.
Vietnam Register is currently the only car testing facility. The agency will test select a car from a shipment at random. The whole process will take about two months, a long time for a shipment to be passed.
Somchai Harnhiran, Thailand’s deputy minister of industry, said the country’s automotive industry has lost 80 percent of its car exports to Vietnam. He said both governments will discuss this topic further in the future and hopes “for a good sign from both countries.”
The Bangkok Post also reported that shipments of cars to Vietnam have been stalling for over six months.
Thailand’s auto makers have reported that around 4,590 units were exported to Vietnam in the first quarter of this year, while the country’s annual target is 65,000 units.
Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Trade Negotiation Department, said that the country will continue to revisit this issue at every upcoming meeting with Vietnam and will propose mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) at the Joint Trade Committee meeting in August.
She explained that MRAs will allow Thailand to inspect its cars before shipping them to Vietnam.
Vietnam has yet to agree on the MRAs.
Among 922 imported cars since the beginning of June, 564 cars were from Thailand, according to General Department of Vietnam Customs.
Beside Thailand, Vietnam has this year imported cars several other countries including China, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Spain.