Reforming automobile excise taxes in the ASEAN region for pro-growth and pro-environment outcomes

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The commencement of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) from 31 December 2015 could be a critical point in time for the future shape of the automotive industry in the region. ASEAN seeks to establish a 'single market' which is an opportunity for the industry to build and sell vehicles in a market of over 600 million consumers at a time when the environment is increasingly shaping government policies and consumerinterest, including in the automotive sector. Can these objectives meet and see ASEAN become a major global hub for automobile production, potentially in new energy efficient and lower emission products? Significant progress towards the critical 'single market' needed to underpin growth in the automotive sector has been made in terms of cutting import tariffs on intra-regional trade, however this progress could be undermined by the emergence of various non-tariff measures appearing across the region. This paper focuses on excise taxation and the recent restructuring of some national excise systems before the commencement of the AEC and the extent to which these excise tariff measures may be acting as non-tariff barriers to the formation of a single market. In response, this paper explores the possible options in the area of developing and adopting a coordinated excise tax policy for ASEAN based on principled excise policy and reflecting changes in relation to the environment. The coordination discussed is indeed not dissimilar to the successful development of the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN), and explores the concept of a possible 'ASEAN common excise tariff', or similar which, if allowed to progress, may assist in eventually removing excise taxation policies that could undermine the key principles of the AEC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-72
Number of pages28
JournalWorld Customs Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


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