Tag: taxation

Oct 15

Following Japan, Korea disputes IPI increase at WTO

As expected more and more countries are lining up to challenge the unreasonable protective measure by the Brazilian government to increase the Tax on Industrialised Products (IPI). Last month, Brazil raised the so-called IPI by 30 percentage points for imported cars that aren’t made with at least 65% local content. Excluded are those from companies that produce locally or in Mercosul partners. Established carmakers such as Volkswagen, Fiat,General Motors Co. and Ford, which together account for about three-fourths of car sales, had complained about the influx of cars as Brazil’s currency strengthened and demand jumped.

Japan may be the first country to challenge at the World Trade Organization the Brazilian this increase in the IPI tax. In addition to Japan, South Korea also objected to the increase for imported cars decided by the Brazilian government. The two countries that are producers of automobiles, said that Brazil violates the agreement of trade-related investments as well as an article of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on national treatment of companies.

Both Korea and Japan has decided to challenge the measure of the Brazilian government in the Market Access Committee , which periodically examines new barriers raised by the countries. The report itself noted that the Japanese action could pave the way for other governments complain of Brazil, as it did. Japan will ask judges at the WTO to examine the measure. Though most Japanese car makers produce locally, exempting them from the tax, the country’s government is concerned that a similar measure could be repeated by other countries. The issue was raised with Brazil during a meeting of the WTO’s market access committee on Friday, said Atsushi Saito, Japan’s representative at the Geneva-based organization. In addition to Japan, members from South Korea, Australia, Europe and the U.S. also voiced their concerns, Saito said. When asked if Japan planned to file a formal complain with the WTO, Saito replied in an email that “If you understand that ‘formal complaint’ is part of a dispute settlement process, we don’t have any plans at this stage.”

More than 20% of cars sold this year are imported, up from just 5% in 2005, according to automakers association Anfavea. But the tax hike was challenged by car companies who are building or plan to build factories in the country and who say that because they won’t be able to meet the full local content requirements during the first few years of operations, they would cancel plans to bring production onshore.

Government willing to negotiate?

The government has since said it would negotiate with those companies to reach a compromise. This is also confirmed by China’s JAC Motors. JAC Brazil says it has finalized a deal to build a $500 million car factory in Brazil. JAC Brazil says in an emailed release the factory will be built in the northeastern state of Bahia. The plant should be ready by 2014.The automaker said in August it wanted to build a factory in Brazil. But those plans were questioned after Brazil hiked the import taxes on foreign cars, threatening the Chinese-made vehicles JAC ships to Brazil. JAC says in its Friday statement it hopes the decision to invest will convince officials to scrap that tax hike.

BMW considers building a factory in the country, but..

BMW asked Brazil’s Trade and Development Minister Fernando Pimentel to reevaluate the increase in the IPI tax as it considers building a factory in the country, O Estado de S. Paulo reported, citing Henning Dornbusch, chief executive officer of BMW’s Brazil unit. The Brazilian government’s decision to raise the tax on cars with less than 65 percent of their parts produced in Brazil may lead BMW to build its plant in China, India or Russia instead, according to the newspaper. The company will announce its decision by November, O Estado said. The Ministry of Trade and Development’s press office said Pimentel hasn’t made any commitment relating to BMW’s request because the decision must be made in conjunction with Finance Minister Guido Mantega, O Estado said.

 

Oct 09

Chinese Car Maker JAC to Build in Brazil – WSJ.com

Chinese Car Maker to Build in Brazil – WSJ.com.

SÃO PAULO—Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co., the Chinese auto maker known as JAC, and its Brazilian partner said Friday that they decided to go ahead with plans to build a factory in Brazil on hopes that the government will modify a production tax.

SHC, the company that imports JAC automobiles into Brazil, said it would invest 80% of the 900 million Brazilian reals ($509 million) needed to build the factory, with JAC providing the rest. The factory will be built in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia, with output set to begin in 2014.

Brazil’s market—the world’s fourth-largest by sales—has attracted heavy investment. Sales are expected to grow 5% this year, slowing from last year’s 12% expansion as the government raised interest rates earlier this year to rein in an overheated economy.

The JAC factory, with initial capacity of 100,000 vehicles, will be in the city of Camacari, an industrial area where Ford Motor Co. has a plant. JAC will assemble and paint the cars locally, with stamping and motor-production capacity set to be built later.

JAC began selling cars in Brazil in March of this year, and through September had sold 17,421 vehicles. With four models sold locally, JAC accounts for 0.9% of all cars sold this year, according to auto dealers association Fenabrave.

SHC and JAC will also build a research center to locally develop parts such as flex-fuel engines–the predominant kind in Brazil, which can run on gasoline, ethanol, or a mixture of the two–as well as a design center and a test track.

The factory plans had been announced in August by SHC president Sergio Habib, although a location had yet to be decided upon. A month later, however, Brazil said it was raising the a tax on autos by 30 percentage points—to a range of 37% to 55%, from 7% to 25%—exempting only cars that used at least 65% locally produced content.

Mr. Habib said last month that the tax would also hurt auto makers that in recent months had begun building factories in Brazil, such as South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. and China’s Chery Automobile Co. Mr. Habib later said he may cancel plans to build the factory because it was impossible for any company to begin production with 65% local content.

Brazil’s Trade Ministry said earlier this week that it was considering making the rules more flexible. News reports said the government may consider gradually increasing local content requirements for newly installed factories.

Also Friday, Mr. Habib said Friday that he is in talks with India’s Tata Motors to import the company’s cars. Tata officials weren’t available to comment.