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Car dealers threaten to torch stock in protest over tax hikes

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jul 11,2016 - Last updated at Jul 11,2016

Vehicles are parked near a car dealer shop in Amman's Sports City area recently (Photo by Hassan Tamimi)

AMMAN — Traders at the Jordan Free Zone on Monday threatened to set fire to cars at their dealerships in the zone in protest over recent tax hikes. 

The threat to burn their stock follows a 10-day strike in the zone during which traders refused to sell any vehicles after the government reduced tax exemptions on imported used cars and increased the ownership transfer fees of private vehicles in June. 

Traders at the zone said economic conditions in Jordan are “very tough” and the new measures will make the situation worse, in a statement published on their Facebook page. 

 “This decision will make many traders go bankrupt and many investors will leave the country,” the traders said in the statement, adding that the decision was taken without any consultations with those concerned.

They added that more than 1,000 employees work at the 200 stores at the zone, noting that those workers support 8,000 family members.

The decision to lower the rate of tax exemptions on used cars was part of a set of fiscal measures the government took to raise public revenues.

The decision increased prices by 8 to 17 per cent, depending on the model and engine size, according to Nabeel Rumman, the president of the Jordan Free Zone Investor Commission (JFZIC).

On Monday, the JFZIC held an emergency meeting and called on traders to stop selling used cars from the zone as a means to pressure the government to reverse the decision.

 

The Treasury receives around JD500 million a year from the automobile sector, but this number is likely to fall because of the increase in customs duties and also due to the “reckless” move by the government to increase ownership transfer fees of cars, Rumman told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

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