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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    6 July 2012

Border to soar for Thailand under AEC

05-July-2012

Slashed tariffs under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) will cost Thailand 7 billion baht to 8 billion baht (US$221 million to $253 million) a year in lost revenue, but the Customs Department expects this to be compensated by soaring intra-Asean trade.

As import tariffs currently imposed on goods from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and other Asean members will be cut to zero in 2015 when the single market starts, it will take a toll on revenue, Somchai Poolsawasdi, director-general of the Customs Department, said yesterday.

However, the anticipated rise of intra-regional trade in Asean may bring greater benefits to the overall economy, he said.

Thailand's border trade was worth 899 billion baht ($28.4 billion)last year, up 15.6 per cent from the year before, and the country enjoyed a trade surplus due to exports of 587 billion baht ($18.5 billion). But border trade is expected to soar under the AEC.

The department will also step up its scrutiny of whether investors in Asean meet local-content requirements, he said. If they do not, they cannot enjoy tax privileges under the Asean Free Trade Agreement.

The department plans to build a new customs office at Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi province, as two-way trade there is expected to take off when the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial park in Myanmar are constructed, he said.

Several new customs checkpoints will be also built at the new border-crossing points, he said, while the old offices would be renovated and expanded.

Asean customs authorities have negotiated the streamlining of border checkpoints to save costs and move transport efficiently, Somchai said. If goods are examined by Thai customs officials when they reach the Laotian border, for example, there should be no need for a second check.

A national single window, which will allow exporters and importers to apply for customs clearance at one point electronically, is expected to be ready by the end of this year, he said.

More intra-Asean trade is expected to provide a cushion for the impact of the European crisis, he added.


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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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