Prime Minister Hun Manet said that Cambodia does not yet need to forbid the import of used vehicles but suggested enhancing technical automotive inspections.

He explained that a government official had previously suggested he consider imposing age resrictions on automobile imports, but he had rejected the idea and instead recommended bolstering the vehicle inspection system.

“During a previous meeting, Aun Pornmoniroth, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance suggested this idea … because [the ministry] cares about environmental issues. 

“Pornmoniroth suggested that imports of automobiles older than ten years be prohibited by 2024 and importing vehicles older than five years be prohibited by 2030 in order to guarantee that the vehicles are in excellent condition and do not harm the environment. I said remove that idea,” Manet said. 

The prime minister made the statement at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the twin flyovers at the intersection of Hun Sen Boulevard and National Road (NR) 2 on the border of Phnom Penh and Kandal province on June 17.

"Some people can't afford a new car, including some taxi drivers. It is expensive. There is no need to ban used vehicles. Strengthening the technological inspection methods is necessary because car maintenance is already checked annually.

"Even if the vehicle is under five or ten years old, if it does not meet technical standards, it should not be allowed to operate. Some individuals still occasionally drive older vehicles, such as 1968 Mercedes.

"I understand the need to protect the environment and the importance of avoiding the import of outdated vehicles that may be hazardous due to technical issues,” Manet said.

The prime minister noted that several nations have banned the import of used automobiles in an effort to raise living standards and boost the automobile industry in countries where cars are assembled.

He explained, however, that there is no need to ban the entry of old cars into Cambodia.

He said the government encourages foreign companies to build automobiles in the Kingdom, but they must [be able] to compete with the import of second-hand vehicles.

"The companies must ensure that the car is affordable and in good condition without problems for the buyers. 

"The number of cars that a household can have is still not restricted in Cambodia. The state is striving to address the transportation issue in a way that benefits the populace. If people can afford it, they are free to purchase a car," Manet explained.