Cleaner vehicle purchases to be encouraged

China will extend tax exemptions for new energy vehicle purchases for another two years in a bid to boost consumption and stabilize the virus-hit economy, authorities announced on Wednesday.

Three types of new energy vehicles will be exempted from the tax: the pure electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell-powered vehicles. The extended period will run from Jan 1 2021 to the end of 2022, said a statement jointly issued by the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

An executive meeting of the State Council on March 31 called for the extension of subsidies and auto purchase tax exemptions for new energy vehicle purchases. Other measures included speeding up approval and issuance of local government special bonds and more facilities for financial and corporate bond issuance to ease the pandemic’s impact and offset its economic fallout.

For auto sales, according to the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA), weekly retail sales growth of passenger cars (by volume) turned positive at 14 percent year-on-year from April 7 to April 12, recovering from a drop of 40.4 percent in March.

But economists fear the auto sales rebound may be unsustainable, due to impaired income of households and still elevated uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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