US extends GSP for Thailand

US extends GSP for Thailand

The Commerce Ministry sees a positive sign for Thai exports as the US reinstates its GSP for the country. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
The Commerce Ministry sees a positive sign for Thai exports as the US reinstates its GSP for the country. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The United States has agreed to renew its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for Thailand until the end of 2017, the Commerce Ministry revealed on Wednesday.

The reinstatement order happened on Monday. It is valid four years and five months. As the tariff privilege takes retroactive effect from its previous expiry in July 2013. The privilege will continue until Dec 31, 2017.

Consequently Thai exporters are entitled to tax refunds for two years back for 3,400 product items worth 6.2 billion baht, Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya said on Wednesday. The products are mainly for ceramics, sanitary ware and processed foods.

He believed Thai exports will escape contraction this year. Thailand is among 127 countries that enjoy the GSP extension from the US.

The Commerce Ministry last week reported Thai export value tumbled for a fifth straight month in May, down by 5% year-on-year to US$18.4 billion, leading the five-month performance to fall by 4.2% year-on-year to $88.7 billion.

The commerce minister insisted authorities were trying their best to spur exports not only in traditional key markets including the United States and China but also new markets.

He urged Thai exporters to fully exercise the renewed tariff privilege from the US and hoped that it would have a positive effect on overall Thai exports.

Nopporn Thepsitthar, chairman of the Thai National Shippers' Council, said the value of Thai exports could fall by 2% to 3.5% this year because of declining exports to most markets including Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, the Middle East, Africa, South America, India and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Thai exports were growing only in the US, China, Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, he said.

Water shortages would also limit Thai export values because of reduced agricultural yields, Mr Nopporn added.

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