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Fresh scrutiny for car imports

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
A brand new Audi Q7 being unveiled in Phnom Penh in 2015. KT/Mai Vireak

The government of Cambodia on Wednesday says it will enforce quality testing on imported vehicles at border check-points, a move complying with Asean standards.

The move which some industry insiders say the law should be enforced fairly.

Details of the enforcement measures were set out in a statement from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, endorsed by Minister Aun Pornmoniroth.

This followed a meeting of a government-private sector working group on taxation at the ministry earlier this week.

The government said it would put more effort into enhancing regulations on imported vehicles at border checkpoints and implement vehicle technical testing at all automobile shops.

“Regarding to the lack of the regulation and the law enforcement within the automobile industry raised by the private sector, the government is considering finding the solution step-by-step by issuing clear regulations to manage it,” the statement said.

Further actions at border checkpoints would be considered and discussed among relevant ministries and government institutions.

“Although the government has not implemented a ban on importing second-hand vehicles, we will still keep enhancing our control, and inspect the quality and technical aspects,” the statement said.

Seng Voeung, general manager of RMA Cambodia’s automotive division, one of the largest new Ford agencies Cambodia, said that any action taken by the government was welcome but the government should enforce it fairly among other new and second vehicle importers.

“We do appreciate the government effort to help the industry, but all the measures should be enforced on all other second-hand sellers too because we in the brand-new sector have met all the compliances,” he said.

“Now, since the beginning of the year, the government has started increasing the import tax so it already impacts us as the authorised and legal distributors,”

“Vehicle testing at border check points is good as the government wants to comply with the Asean standard and improve the quality of cars for users,”

“But, it should be applied to all second-hand cars if the government wants to enhance and make sure of the quality of cars for users,”

“They should not only implement the changes with brand-new ones,” he added.

Mr Voeung said the new car market is less than 20 per cent of the market, which is dominated by second-hand sales.

But he said that last year, new cars increased their share of the market with the rise of people’s income.

“The government should also enforce the second-hand car import rules if it wants to improve the quality of cars and reduce risks for users,” he said.

“The government should consider any action to help the authorised new car distributors so that people use new cars at a safe and affordable price.”

Peter Brongers, president of the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF) could not be reached yesterday.

He said previously that the trend of buying new cars was increasing. More Cambodians could afford a new car and considered buying second-hand cars risky.

He said about 45,000 new and used vehicles were imported each year, with 4,000 of these being new cars, an increase of 8 to 9 percent in recent years.

“The percentage of new cars coming in by authorised dealers will get higher and higher. For sure it will increase to 15 to 16 percent,” Mr Brongers said.

He added that every carmaker sees Cambodia as an emerging market and they all want to be here because they want to be part of this market, even though it is still small.

Mr Voeung and Mr Brongers said the grey market was also a big issue. But Mr Voeung hoped the grey market issue would improve once the government enforced the law fully.

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