HANOI -- The Vietnamese government is weighing whether to impose increased tariffs on imported auto parts from next month, a government official said on Thursday.
"There have not been any specific directives from the government to implement the new tariffs on April 1," said the Finance Ministry official.
"The government is reconsidering the proposal and we are waiting for its final decision."
Officials at the ministry's General Tax Bureau declined to comment on the issue.
Last month, the ministry proposed a gradual increase to bring the import tax to 30 percent by April 1, 2003, from 20 percent, and finally to 50 percent by 2005.
In addition, it proposed raising consumption tax to 50 percent next year from five percent.
Hanoi hoped the increases would boost use of locally made parts.
The Vietnam Automobile Manufacturer Association, comprising 11 foreign automakers including Germany's Mercedes-Benz, Japan's Toyota Motor Co., Ford and General Motors, has asked Hanoi to delay the plan.
A GM executive told Reuters last week higher taxes would hurt a small sector that already faces modest sales and overcapacity.
State-run media said the imposition of higher taxes would mean the price of cars would rise 2.5 times and hurt consumer demand.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jon Huntsman said on Monday he had raised the issue at meetings with Vietnam's ministers and that he had received a "very encouraging" reaction from the government. It said it would review the decision and discuss it with the industry, he added.