Customs improvements to lift ranking
Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong set his sights on solving obstacles to international trade as part of the government's relentless effort to lift its ranking in the World Bank's ease of doing business report next year.
Even though Thailand jumped to 26th in the 2018 report from 48th the previous year, on the international trade section it remains a laggard, so it is a focus of reform before the next World Bank evaluation in May, he said.
Thailand's ranking on international trade was 57th, worsening from 56th the previous year, while it earned the same score of 84.
The government set an ambitious goal to move Thailand into the top 10 of the ease of doing business rankings under its regime to make the country more attractive to foreign investors. The administration believes if it manages to convince foreign investors and local companies to invest, the economy will sustainably expand and reach its growth potential.
Mr Apisak said the e-matching system adopted by the Customs Department at Laem Chabang port will shorten the document inspection period to 20-30 seconds from 3-4 minutes previously.
Reducing inspection time will help reduce traffic congestion at the port and trim economic costs by 3.5 billion baht.
The e-matching system matches the goods control list electronically.
Kulit Sombatsiri, director-general of the Customs Department, said it will employ three measures to facilitate trade starting in January next year.
The three measures are a pre-arrival system, which will allow importers to submit manifests online ahead of goods arrival at ports; e-transshipment, which will reduce overlapping document requirements for goods transition to other countries; and single-point unpacking inspection for goods shipped through several ports in Thailand.
The department will also roll out an e-advance system to allow importers who are unsure about import duties to check the levy in advance through an online system, said Mr Kulit. The charge is 2,000 baht per use.