China's Customs Said to Lift Tesla Model 3 Import Suspension

(Bloomberg) -- China’s customs has lifted a suspension on imports of Tesla Inc.’s Model 3, a person familiar with the matter said, clearing the way for the electric-car maker to boost sales of the sedan in the world’s biggest auto market.

The person declined to be named discussing a private matter. More than 4,600 Tesla cars that arrived at Chinese ports were held after being found of having issues including misprinted or missing local-language labels, China Central Television reported last week. Tesla said at the time that it had reached a resolution with Chinese customs, and sales of the Model 3 in China weren’t affected.

A Tesla representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Calls to China’s General Administration of Customs and its Shanghai district weren’t answered after regular business hours.

The customs holdup has been a stumbling block to Tesla’s efforts to rapidly expand sales in crucial regions like China, especially as U.S. demand is reported to have slowed this year. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has been banking on the Model 3, the company’s least-expensive vehicle, to boost its sales and this quarter began deliveries of the sedan in Europe.

After four years of planning, the company finally broke ground in January on a factory in China, its first car-manufacturing facility outside the U.S. While China remains the world’s largest auto market, the plant is coming at a time when the nation’s annual car sales are slowing for the first time in at least two decades and trade tensions with the U.S. threaten to damp demand.

Reuters reported the lifting of the customs suspension earlier Thursday.

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