Imports of cars to Armenia nearly tripled in the first quarter of this year, the State Revenue Committee (SRC) said on Friday.
The SRC put the total number of imported personal cars, trucks and other vehicles at 13,768, up from 5,135 in the same period of 2017. Customs and value-added taxes collected from them rose just as strongly, to almost 8.9 billion drams ($18.5 million), the national tax and customs service said in a statement.
Car imports to Armenia rose by almost 54 percent, to $247 million, last year after falling considerably in 2016, according to the National Statistical Service (NSS). NSS data also shows that the Armenian economy grew by 7.5 percent in 2017.Government officials say the robust growth continued into the first three months of 2018.
The SRC statement quoted a senior customs official, Karen Gevorgian, as saying that the unusually sharp rise in first-quarter car imports primarily resulted from new and more transparent customs procedures introduced this year.
Another, possibly more important factor is a government ban on imports of right-hand drive cars which took effect on April 1.
The number of such cars, most of them cheap second-hand vehicles manufactured in Japan, has grown rapidly in recent years, even though Armenia uses right-hand traffic. Police officials say they account for a disproportionately large share of traffic accidents in the country.