Ministry of Commerce officials maintained that low import taxes and increased demand from consumers were the causes behind the 45.26 increase in vehicle imports in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period last year.
The data showed 486,827 vehicles, of all makes and models, were imported during the first six months of the year compared to 335,131 vehicles during the first six months of 2011; the value of the imports increased from US$179.45 million to $239.20 million.
Kong Putheara, director of the Department of Statistics and Information at the Ministry of Commerce, said Cambodia’s economic growth and tax deductions led to an increase in vehicle imports. “The government decided to make the tax lower than that of Vietnam, so people with a decent income are able to afford a car.”
If the government increases the import tax, imports are likely to drop sharply and most Cambodians want to have their own vehicles rather than rent them from companies like Vietnam, he said.
“The Vietnamese people rarely own their own vehicles because the taxes on them are so high,” he said.
Cambodia imports vehicles from Thailand, the United States, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and Singapore, though most Cambodians like vehicles from the US and Germany, according to Kong Putheara.
He expects imports to increase by the end of the year.
Seng Voeung, director of Ford Motor Company in Phnom Penh said that demand has increased but the supplies are still not enough.
Ford’s imports decreased when compared to the same period last year – decreasing from 200 vehicles to 100 vehicles - but he maintained it was the result of not enough vehicles to fill purchase orders, which rose to 200 for the same period.
To contact the reporter on this story: Seun Son at [email protected]