The Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation has advised all companies, factories, enterprises and importers of all types of new vehicles in Cambodia to apply for safety certification of those vehicles at the Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC).

In an announcement dated September 17, it said the distribution of new vehicles in the Cambodian market has been going on in various forms without sufficient consideration for product safety in accordance with the technical standards and regulations related to consumer safety.

Not following the required technical standards and safety regulations could be harmful to drivers and passengers of these vehicles and could end up being a danger to the public and the environment.

To manage safety issues, officials will do inspections of vehicles at the factories, dealerships and distributors currently present in the Cambodian market to ensure they meet safety standards.

The ministry told businesses to bring along photocopies of certain documents and cooperate with the Cambodian standards inspection officials.

“Any person who obstructs the inspection and does not have any documents attesting to the safety of the vehicle will be punished or fined according to the law in force,” it said in a statement.

ISC director-general Chan Sopha told The Post on September 21 that in order to ensure the safety of consumers in Cambodia, all car importers and dealers are required to test the vehicles in accordance with Cambodian regulations.

He said that within the framework of ASEAN and other countries, Cambodia has agreed to certain rules regarding the trade of vehicles. Vehicles imported to Cambodia must comply with Cambodian standards and new vehicles must have a certificate or other documents to show to the authorities.

“The agreement we made is only for new cars and not for used or second-hand ones, because used cars are often sold by individual owners and have undergone repairs, so we cannot determine safety for them reliably,” he said, adding that consumers who buy used vehicles should hire a mechanic to do an inspection first.

Soeun Dara, executive director of the Cambodian Automotive Importers Federation, said on September 21 that he had already received the notification. He said the federation and the ISC had worked closely together.

He noted that the ministry issued technical regulations for vehicles manufactured after 2016 by setting technical regulations to implement that began on January 1, 2020.

He explained that new cars imported into Cambodia must apply for a permit in order to be able to use the Cambodian standard “safety” symbol to confirm their compliance with the technical regulations and standards.

He said that after obtaining a permit to use the Cambodian standard “safety” symbol, the new car will be equipped with the symbol “S” to confirm that it has been manufactured, imported and properly inspected according to the technical standards.

If the new car does not have the “S” safety symbol, it means that the car does not comply with technical standards or has not been inspected for compliance.

Dara welcomed the introduction of safety regulations for new vehicles because it will benefit consumers, and dealers who are selling vehicles that have passed inspection can market them as safe using the “S” symbol.

“However, the challenge is that these technical regulations are enforced only for car importing companies that have the exclusive rights to import and distribute certain vehicle models.

“The companies that do not have exclusive rights to import cars would not need to apply for the Cambodian safety symbol to confirm that they meet technical regulations. This makes it easier for them to import cars but circumvents safety requirements,” he added.

He requested that the government and the ministry reconsider the implementation of technical regulations and car standards and consider applying them to both franchised and non-franchised dealers. He said that all imported new cars would then follow safety regulations as intended.

By Phnom Penh Post