Gov’t Minister Urges Ban on Old Car Imports

Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh on Monday called for banning imports of cars and trucks made before 2000, saying that Cambodia could become a “trash bin” for old vehicles.

Speaking at the grand opening of a commercial truck and bus dealership Monday, Cham Prasidh said he would propose the ban to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“I’m going to propose a ban of used cars and trucks [made before 2000] to Prime Minister Hun Sen,” he said. “Now it’s time to encourage our people to use brand-new motors and cars because it is the latest technology in terms of brand-new vehicles.”

The country has long relied on used vehicles that are often substandard, and the proposed ban would help upgrade the country’s vehicles, he said during the opening of the Hino Motors dealership in Phnom Penh.

“We can’t forbid the importation of used cars and trucks [entirely], but we need to set a threshold,” he said, adding that the ban, if approved, could be implemented after the election.

Pily Wong, executive director of Hung Hiep (Cambodia) Co Ltd, a Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai dealership, said that used vehicles that have been in serious accidents and considered beyond repair by car owners in other countries sometimes end up in Cambodia.

Mechanics “will clean them very nicely so all the parts will look like new, but they are not. For example, maybe the brake system is not up to standard,” he said.

However, he said, the proposed ban would have a limited impact because many of the substandard vehicles that make their way into Cambodia were made after 2000.

  (Additional reporting by Tim Sturrock)

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