Customs mulls non-tariff rule for cheap imports

Customs mulls non-tariff rule for cheap imports

The Customs Department plans to introduce a non-tariff measure to bridge the disparity between low-priced goods shipped into Thailand that are tax-exempt and goods locally produced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), says director-general Patchara Anuntasilpa.

Customs rules allow goods priced 1,500 baht or lower that are shipped into Thailand exemption from import duties and value-added tax (VAT).

SME products are subject to VAT, while the SMEs themselves also pay corporate tax.

Mr Patchara said the Finance Ministry instructed the Customs Department to look into the matter, especially for goods from China.

He said the exemption of customs duty for low-priced products has caused a disparity between these goods and those produced by local SMEs.

Mr Patchara said the planned non-tariff measure could bridge this difference and would not be deemed as breaching universal customs rules.

The import of low-priced products has increased as more people order products online.

It is estimated more than 38 million parcels are sent to Thailand per year.

A source at the Customs Department who requested anonymity said the Revenue Department wants to cancel the exemption of customs duty for parcels valued less than 1,500 baht as the Revenue Department cannot collect VAT revenue from them.

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