Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Public hearing in the US on Jan 30 to discuss tariff privileges for Thai products

Jan 27. 2020
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By The Nation

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) will open a public hearing on January 30 on the suspension of tariff privileges for Thai products under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) said.

DFT director-general Keerati Rushchano said on Monday (January 27) that the US National Pig Producers Council had submitted a request to the USTR to cut Thai privileges 2-3 years ago, claiming that Thailand was not opening its market to import US products, especially pork that contains the red meat accelerator called Ractopamine.

“The opening of the market was one of the conditions that the US used for consideration in granting or removing these tariff privileges,” Keerati said. “Related authorities, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Commerce will travel to participate in this public hearing as well.”

Keerati explained that in the past Thailand had submitted a request to the USTR to reconsider the suspension of tariff privileges, arguing that the red meat accelerator could be harmful to consumers. In addition, the use of this chemical substance is strictly prohibited.

“Currently, we have already received the scientific results of this chemical substance in which both countries have conducted experiments. Therefore, the representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives will travel to clarify this matter with the USTR,” he said.

“After the public hearing, the USTR will announce the result at the end of February this year. If they suspend the tariff privileges within three months or six months, Thailand would still have time to negotiate with the US to reconsider this matter.”

He further explained that if the US suspended the tariff privileges, more than 700 Thai products that currently received these privileges would be eliminated. This does not include 573 products on which the USTR will announce the result on April 25.

“However, the Ministry of Commerce has already discussed with the private sector and related authorities on measures to help mitigate the impact for exporters,” he said.

He added that in the public hearing on January 30, the USTR will review the granting of GSP by country according to the request submitted by the US National Pig Producers Council.

“It is up to the government whether to open the market or not,” he added.

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