Thailand to import 7,800 tonnes of coconuts despite falling price
Thailand will import up to 78,477 tonnes of coconuts tariff-free under the Asean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) quota covering September to December this year.
The Commerce Ministry says 15 Thai businesses have been granted permission to import coconuts at the rate of 1 per 2.5 coconuts purchased domestically.
However, the Oil and Vegetable Oil Committee has approved the use of World Trade Organisation (WTO) special safeguards to protect Thai coconut farmers from price slumps caused by imports.
If total coconut imports to Thailand this year exceed the WTO trigger volume of 311,235 tonnes, the Customs Department will raise duties. Duties will increase from zero to 72 per cent for AFTA imports and from 54 per cent to 72 per cent on WTO imports.
The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) forecasts Thailand will produce 0.876 million tonnes of coconut this year, down from 1.269 million tonnes last year.
Meanwhile, 0.418 million tonnes of coconut and related products will be imported to the country this year.
However, slowing demand in the first half of 2021 due to Covid-19 has seen the price of coconuts plummet in Thailand.
The price of big coconuts sold by farmers in August averaged 8.19 baht per fruit, a fall of 31.23 per cent from 11.91 baht in the same period last year.