Importing a Car to Cambodia from Abroad: Is it Worth it?
Let’s say you’ve been looking around for a vehicle at locally and are getting nowhere. Maybe you have an old girl sitting at home under a tarp that you miss terribly. Maybe on that jaunt home last time you fell in love with that shiny, fast beast parked on theneighbours nature strip.
Whatever the reason, sooner or later most long term expats will consider importing a vehicle from overseas. Is this a good idea?
Some background points:
Generally speaking, Cambodians are real petrol heads. It’s something that I really like about this place.
If you are stuck for conversation in Kampong-wherever with the family, a great way to strike up a conversation is to ask them about their current vehicle, the vehicle they plan to own in the future and why they desire said vehicle. Cars are the first major luxury purchase Khmers who are climbing the economic ladder will make.
How does this national obsession impact your potential import? Well, I have it on good authority that the Royal Government of Cambodia, “wants you to enjoy your life”. According to the government, enjoyment of life is enhanced by lax regulation of alcohol, tobacco and vehicles.
Cambodia Import Duty Rules – Import Cars from the USA
If you are planning to export cars from USA, then this shall be a costly process as well as elusive. There are certain things which you need to know before importing vehicles to Cambodia. Most importantly the shipping prices should be fair enough and trouble free.
Kampong Chnang, Siemreab, Phnom Penh are few among the main ports of the Cambodian cities, where you can ship your cars. When it comes to the basic required documents, one must have Registration Certificate, which must show both engine and chassis numbers. There must be a Commercial Invoice holding proof of value and Ownership proof.
Any car you import from the USA, irrespective of new or already Used Car, you need to pay Import Duty and Taxes to the Government. Custom Duty has to be paid to the Custom Department, in any case of exit or entry.
Importers need to provide the Customs Department with the proper invoice, lading bill and list of packing for the all the shipments. The Import Duty payable to the department varies depending on the items that are imported.
In case of importing cars from the USA, there are three categories according to which, you must pay the duties. For instance, if it is cars over 3000cc then the duty amount payable will be 120%. For Import cars between 2000 and 3000cc you have to pay 90% of the Duty. Whereas 40% duty is the most affordable charges when compared to others and this is collectable for the cars which are under 2000cc.
Indeed, Cambodia charges some of the highest import taxes on vehicles in the world. Whether you are a car distributor or somebody looking to ship in a vehicle from home, you will be will have to pay a 45% excise tax, a 35% import duty and a 10% added value tax on the value of any vehicle brought into the country. Those taxes compounded with logistics fees and other “informal costs” can bring the total cost of importing a car well over its original cost, making it almost impossible for some distributors of imported cars to turn a profit.
Cambodia gets rolling
Despite prohibitive taxes on imports, car sales are on the rise and a local manufacturing industry is taking shape as well.
Published: 7/05/2013 at 09:43 AM by Bangkok Post
Newspaper section: Asia focus
It is hard to imagine, but Cambodia makes its own cars. A country known for its low-skilled workforce, Cambodia exceeded expectations with its release in January of the Angkor Car, a mini-electric vehicle able to get up to 300 kilometres per charge.
Designed and made in Cambodia, the Angkor gets around 300 kilometres per charge and sells for around $10,000.
The small but sleek Angkor Car can easily navigate the narrow streets of Cambodia, while with an electric engine saves on expensive fuel costs. It may cost $10,000 per vehicle, a bit steep for most local people, but the vehicle is a welcome testimony to Cambodian ingenuity.
And it is well timed as well, as Cambodia’s automotive sector is just beginning to make some noise. The number of cars that are registered with the government more than doubled since 2006 to 231,352 at the end of last year, according to data from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The tendency to buy high-end automobiles is also on the rise, growing 27% in 2011 compared to the year before, according to the World Bank.
At the same time, reputable brands are lining up to enter the market. The first authorised BMW showroom broke ground in Phnom Penh in December, while banners have gone up around town for Mazda vehicles, expected to hit the market this year.