By Ahmed Bani Mustafa – Jan 10,2019

AMMAN — Exempting electric vehicles (EVs) from customs is a positive measure, however, more is needed to “rescue” the trade, stakeholders said.

After raising the tax on EVs from zero to 25 per cent, the government recently decided to exempt around 2,500 vehicles that were imported or bought before December 31, 2018. The cars will be exempt if they are cleared through customs before April 30.

Cars imported after December 31 will still have to pay the 25 per cent tax, Haitham Qteishat, deputy president of the Jordan Free Zone Investor Commission, told The Jordan Times.

The decision came after meetings between investors, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and the finance minister.

The Jordanian market currently has around 2,500 EVs that were shipped to Jordan, or bought in other countries before December 31, 2018, Qteishat said.

The decision is temporary, said Mohammad Bostanji, an automobile investor, claiming that the electric cars sector will be “finished” after April, as no trader will want to import more cars.

“Traders will import no more EVs with the new tax [in effect] as the price will rise for buyers, who are usually middle or low-income customers,” Bostanji added.

Importing EVs should be supported and totally exempted from taxes like in other countries, as they are eco-friendly and economical, according to Bostanji.

Stakeholders previously told The Jordan Times on Sunday that the government had increased the customs-clearance tax on EVs without referring to or notifying dealers far enough ahead of the decision.

After announcing a clearance tax increase of 50 per cent in 2012, the government reached a compromise with stakeholders last June to set the tax on hybrid cars at 30 per cent, with a gradual increase of 5 per cent every year until 2021. However, stakeholders said at the time that they were not aware of any new taxes on EVs.