Sqoop is not supporting HIVE external tables at the moment.
Feel free to file a JIRA  to add such support.
On Mon, Jan 07, 2013 at 07:52:17PM +0800, Santosh Achhra wrote:
> Is creating external tables not supported in Sqoop ? When I execute sqoop
> import command with --hiveimport option, by default a managed tables is
> getting created, then I have to fire Alter command to change table
> properties to change table to external table
> Good wishes,always !