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Duty reduction sought on imports from outside Afta

Jun 10. 2014
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By The Nation

The Customs Department will propose duty reductions on products imported from outside the Asean Free Trade Area (Atfa) to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The department will ask the Security Council to reduce the import duty on products from outside Afta from the highest level of 80 per cent to below 20 per cent in order to increase the competitiveness of Thai business operators.

Meanwhile, the Revenue Department earlier proposed to the NCPO an extension for a further year of value-added tax at the reduced rate of 7 per cent, and an extension of the highest level of personal income tax at 35 per cent for a similar period.

The revenue agency also proposed maintaining the corporate income tax rate at 20 per cent permanently.

Thailand imports around 8,000 products from outside the region and, under the current Afta agreement, importers within Asean pay zero import duty for importing machinery for capital goods, 1 per cent for raw materials, 5 per cent for partially manufactured products, 10 per cent for manufactured products, and 20 per cent for protected products.

"In the future, Thailand will become the gateway to Asean from the North to the South, and from Isaan to the West, and in order to prepare for the increase of exports and imports under the Asean Economic Community, it is crucial to upgrade the country’s customs system to match its economic strategy," said Rakop Srisupaat, director-general of the Customs Department.

Rakop said the department had requested a Bt633-million investment budget in fiscal 2015 to build 33 new ports of entry around the Kingdom.

The ports project is already under way, but the department still requires equipment such as portable and fixed x-ray machines.

It has discussed the possibility of getting a loan to buy such equipment with the Public Debt Management Office, he said.

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