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Business trends

Southeast Asia seeks ways to protect car industry

Nations deploy mix of import curbs and tax benefits to aid local industries

A locally manufactured Toyota pickup truck being driven onto a ship for shipment overseas at a Thai port. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)
A locally manufactured Toyota pickup truck is driven onto a ship for shipment overseas at a Thai port. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)

BANGKOK/JAKARTA -- Several Southeast Asian countries are finding ways to protect their emerging car industries from imports, after eliminating auto duties by the end of  last year.

Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have introduced measures either to hinder imports or benefit local production, while Malaysia is looking at possible curbs on foreign car sales. The new trend is emerging as countries try to push down their trade deficits or bolster their economies in the short term. But experts say the moves may weaken Southeast Asia's auto industry in the long run.

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