ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
January 3, 2008
The government of China's Kunming city has eased its strict customs procedures and value-added tax collections applied on Thai products with a common practical approach on the matter likely to be declared in the next few months.
Speaking after visiting the city and meeting with senior officials of state agencies there last week, Thailand's Deputy Permanent Secretary for Commerce Pissanu Rienmahasarn said the local government of Kunming had agreed to relax the customs rules on examination and quarantine of imported products including vegetables, fruits and meat from Thailand.
In addition, it had reduced the value-added tax collections on various kinds of Thai products shipped to Kunming and for trans-shipment to other Chinese provinces.
Mr. Pissanu said the two sides would set up a sub-committee to determine a common practical approach, which is expected to be declared in the next few months.
Some produce, particularly fruits and vegetables, had been kept in quarantine for such a long time that they spoiled, despite the fact that Thailand and China had reached a free trade area agreement covering produce in 2003.
Mr. Pissanu added Thailand has a project to develop a Thai product distribution centre in Kunming where a 20-storey building for the centre is under construction.
The centre expected to be completed in several months and is expected to be a key place for distribution of Thai products to Chinese consumers in Kunming and other provinces of China.
Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, is a gateway to Southeast Asia. Currently, the Chinese government is promoting the city as an economic zone.
"More importantly," according to Mr. Pissanu, "Kunming people are close to Thai merchants and know Thai products well.
"Consumers in the city have high purchasing power, making the city suitable as a place where Thailand can distribute consumer products such as clothing, leather and other OTOP goods," he said.