By THE NATION
The new law replaces the Customs Act BE 2469 (1926) and its amendments and is a result of many years of drafts, consultations and debates.
The most notable changes in the new act are the elimination of liability presumptions; the decrease in the percentage of fines claimed as rewards for whistleblowers and the introduction of caps to such rewards; the reduction of penalty fines; and the streamlining of procedures and imposition of deadlines for post-clearance audits and appeals.
AMCHAM Thailand has been working with the government for the past 12 years on amending the outdated Customs Act of 1926 and advocating for a law that would increase the ease of doing business in Thailand and stimulate the economy.
While it says the new law is a significant step in the right direction, the chamber has urged further reforms to the Customs Act that would bring it closer to international standards.
AMCHAM Thailand says it believes that the Customs Act should fully meet standards established by the International Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures (the Kyoto Convention) and that Thailand should become a signatory of the Kyoto Convention.
More specifically, AMCHAM Thailand recommends an eventual elimination of the reward-sharing scheme rather than a decrease in the percentage and a cap on rewards.
“We are pleased with the passing of the new customs law,” said Jeffrey Nygaard, president of the AMCHAM Thailand board.
“The changes to the reward-sharing programme will result in greater efficiency, transparency and trade facilitation. This improvement will bring Thailand’s customs law closer to international best practices and in line with current free-trade-agreement trends.
“AMCHAM Thailand remains committed to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the Royal Thai Government in order to facilitate a fair, vibrant and business-friendly environment in Thailand.”