The bill, which promises to end the near-monopoly enjoyed by corporate brewers, is currently under 60-day review by Cabinet before going back to Parliament.
Speaking at a seminar to promote the bill on Saturday, Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat said Thai liquor entrepreneurs were bravely battling laws and injustice in efforts to export their products overseas.
He cited local speciality brews such as Phetchaburi’s palm liquor, Dao Loi made by an ethnic group, and the Saieb community’s liquor in Phrae.
He said he was familiar with brewing methods after spending time in New Zealand.
“During that time, the housekeeper told me about wine production process, so I know about its production costs and how to boost the value of grapes," he said.
He added that he saw how to boost the value of agricultural products during his stint training with a family that produced rolled cigars in Cuba.
“One rolled cigar costs 15,000 baht, equal to one tonne of Thai rice. This proves that Thai agriculture works hard to gain low benefits, but others work easy to gain huge benefits."
Pita said Thai local liquors could help boost the country's economy, saying a five-star hotel had held a tasting session of 60 local liquors for its guests.
He added that the liquor bill will also benefit the packaging, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), agriculture, education and labour industries, as well as the government.
He warned that the government and private sector would lose these opportunities if the bill was rejected.
"Approval of the progressive liquor bill will help boost Thailand after its years of hardship," he added, referring to the Covid-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, Move Forward Party MP Woraphop Viriyaroj said the party would add more details to the bill, including a tax cut to boost local entrepreneurs' competitiveness and tackle liquor smuggling. He said the Cabinet would launch a draft act on excise tax to support the liquor bill.
Fellow Move Forward MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn said local entrepreneurs should be able to keep tax from liquor sales to develop their area or mitigate impacts from drinking alcohol.
He added that locals should be liquor production left to the discretion of locals as some areas – such as the Muslim-majority far South – may frown on the practice.
Meanwhile, the bill would enable provinces to use their local brews to promote tourism and boost agriculture," he added.
Published : February 20, 2022
By : THE NATION