Wednesday, December 15, 2004

IranMania News

IranMania News: "Gov't accused of undermining auto industry

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 - ©2004 IranMania.com

LONDON, Dec 15 (IranMania) - A senior lawmaker accused the Ministry of Industries and Mines of trying to undermine national production, stressing that the proposed reduction in car import tariffs would ultimately destroy the car industry.

Hamid Reza Katouzian, vice chairman of Majlis Industries and Mines Commission, told Mowj News Agency that production sector is and should always remain the most important segment of national economy.

Voicing his strong opposition to open the lucrative auto industry to foreign producers, the legislator said lower import tariffs will turn Iran into a big consumer market for foreign goods.

"The Commerce Ministry and the Ministry of Industries and Mines are contributing to efforts to hurl the national auto industry into a crisis by advocating further cuts in import tariffs," he said, accusing supporters of relaxed duties of pursuing personal gain at the expense of national interest.

The parliamentarian claimed advocates of car imports at lower cost are in line with "hegemonic powers who say Iran does not need production as long as it has hydrocarbon" reserves.

"They do not listen to the lawmakers and if we impeach a minister, he will be replaced by someone with the same agenda," he said, adding that some of the government's plans lack reason.
Katouzian's remarks come soon after Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari disclosed slow car imports were mainly due to mounting pressures from domestic automakers.

The minister told reporters that those who see their interests harmed by car imports have accused the Commerce Ministry of trying to transform Iran into a scrap yard for cars.

Iran's massive auto sector employs more than than 400,000 people. However, the people are very disappointed with low quality and high prices of Iran-made or assembled cars. Large sections of the society and consumer protection groups have demanded further cuts in the current 130-percent car import tariffs."

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