Sugar drinks: New tax, higher prices & social engineering

Sugar drinks: New tax, higher prices & social engineering

When taxes on bottled and canned drinks push up prices on Sept 16, they will go up more for heavily sweetened drinks than others.
When taxes on bottled and canned drinks push up prices on Sept 16, they will go up more for heavily sweetened drinks than others.

New sugar tax to cut future health costs, high sugar consumption means 2.2% lost GDP each year from obesity, diabetes & heart disease.


Sugar drinks: New tax, higher prices & social engineering

Wichit Chantanusornsiri and Darana Chudasri

For soft drink consumers this week there is both good news and bad news.

The bad news is a new tax on sugar drinks that will make soft drinks more expensive to buy.

The good news is that if you buy a drink with less sugar, then you will pay less tax.


"The new tax is intended to cut future health costs for Thailand, both from imported pharmaceuticals and medical services," said Prachuab Tayakeepisut, vice- chairman of the Thai Beverage Industry Association.

According to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey, high sugar consumption results in 198.5 billion baht in losses or 2.2% of the country's GDP each year, mainly from obesity, diabetes and coronary artery disease.


The Finance Ministry is set to trim the excise tax for reduced sugar drinks in an attempt to encourage people to consume healthier products and prompt makers to reduce sugar content, says a source at the Finance Ministry.

Drinks that contain less sugar than the Finance Ministry's threshold will be levied a lower excise tax than that for drinks with higher sugar content, the source said.

The tax on sweet drinks is part of the amended excise tax act set to come into force from Sept 16.


Under the amended tax, the levy on drinks with sugar content that has been reduced to the level required by the Finance Ministry will be cut to four baht per bottle from five.

The source said drinks for which 10% of the content is fruit or vegetable juice with sugar content lower than the Finance Ministry's threshold will be exempted from the tax.

But the ministry will impose an excise tax if the drink's sugar volume exceeds the set mark.

At present, the Excise Department exempts drinks with at least 10% fruit and vegetable content.


Artificial mineral water, carbonated drinks and beverages with fruit or vegetable content lower than the 10% requirement are taxed in a range of 20-25%.


The new excise tax law entails a tax base computation to recommend retail prices.

These calculated prices will replace ex-factory prices and cost, insurance and freight value.

These later prices must be replaced because they have tax loopholes that let manufacturers understate tax payments.


The hardest-hit drinks are likely to be fruit and vegetable juices with natural ingredients, whose market value is 30 billion baht a year, said Mr. Prachuab.

"Fruit and vegetable juices with natural ingredients have been included in Thailand's excise taxation for a long time, but they are tax-exempt," he said.

"Those products will be taxed once the new sugar tax comes into force."


The second hardest hit will be dealt to carbonated and energy drinks, with market value of 50-55 billion baht and 30 billion, respectively.

But Mr Prachuab said the new sugar tax will eventually be passed on to consumers.

Nutthakorn Utensute, director of the Tax Planning Bureau of the Excise Department, said the government is not focused on getting more tax revenue from the new sugar tax.


  • according to (prep): as stated or reported by somebody/something - ตามคำบอกเล่า, ตามรายงาน
  • Act: a law passed by a country’s government - พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
  • amend: to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย
  • artificial: made by people instead of being something natural - ที่ประดิษฐ์ขึ้น
  • association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม
  • at present (adv): now...., currently .... - ในปัจจุบัน
  • attempt (noun): when a person tries to do something or achieve some goal, makes an effort to do it - ความพยายาม
  • beverage: a drink of any type - เครื่องดื่ม
  • bureau: a government organisation - สำนักงาน
  • calculate: to discover a number or amount using  mathematics - คำนวน
  • carbonated: when a drink has gas and little bubbles in it, like Coke - ที่มีก๊าซคาร์บอนไดออกไซด์
  • chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน
  • come into force (verb): to take effect; to begin to be used or required - ส่งผล
  • computation: calculation; the act or process of using numbers to find out an amount - การคาดการณ์
  • consume: to eat, drink or use something - บริโภค
  • consumer: someone who buys and uses goods and services - ผู้บริโภค
  • content (noun): what is inside something - สิ่งที่บรรจุอยู่, ปริมาณความจุ, จำนวนของสิ่งที่บรรจุอยู่
  • coronary artery: either of the two arteries that supply blood to the heart - หลอดเลือดแดงใหญ่ที่หัวใจ
  • cost: an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า
  • cut: reduce, decrease - ลดลง, ทำให้น้อยลง
  • diabetes: a serious medical condition in which your body does not produce enough insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in the blood - โรคเบาหวาน
  • disease (noun): a health problem and problem with a person's body, often caused by an infection, either from a bacteria or virus - โรค
  • encourage: to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
  • entail: to involve something that cannot be avoided - นำมา, ทำให้พัวพัน
  • ex-factory: out of he factory; at the time of leaving the factory -
  • exceed: to go beyond an official limit; to be greater than a number or amount - เกินปริมาณ
  • excise: dealing with taxes made by a government on some types of goods produced and used within their own country - ภาษีสำหรับสินค้าในประเทศ
  • Excise Department (noun): the government department responsible for collecting taxes on goods made, sold or used within a country - กรมสรรพสามิต
  • excise tax: a tax made by a government on some types of goods made, used sold within their own country - ภาษีสรรพสามิต, ภาษีสำหรับสินค้าในประเทศ
  • exempt: not having to follow a rule or obligation or make a payment - ยกเว้น
  • exempted: not having to follow a rule or obligation or make a payment - ยกเว้น
  • expensive (adj): costing a lot of money - แพง
  • Finance Ministry (noun): the ministry in charge of managing the country's money - กระทรวงการคลัง
  • Food and Drug Administration (noun): The Thai government agency responsible for protecting consumer,s health, especially, to ensure safety, quality and effectiveness of health products - สำนักงานคณะกรรมการอาหารและยา
  • freight: goods, but not passengers, that are carried from one place to another, by ship, aircraft, train or truck, or the system of transporting these goods - สินค้าที่ขนส่ง
  • GDP: gross domestic product, the total value of all goods and services produced in a country in a year, except for income received from money invested in other countries ผลิตภัณฑ์มวลรวมภายในประเทศ -
  • import: to buy or bring in products from another country - นำเข้า
  • impose: to introduce something and force people to accept it - กำหนด,บังคับใช้
  • industry: the people and activities involved in producing a particular thing, or in providing a particular service; the production of goods from raw materials, especially in factories - อุตสาหกรรม
  • ingredients: foods that are used with other foods in the preparation of a particular dish - ส่วนประกอบ
  • insurance: an arrangement in which you regularly pay an insurance company an amount of money so that they will give you money if something you own is damaged, lost, or stolen, or if you die or are ill or injured - การประกัน
  • intended: planned; wanted to happen - ที่ได้วางแผนไว้ ที่ตั้งใจให้เกิดขึ้น
  • levy: creating a new tax and requiring certain people to pay it - การจัดเก็บภาษี
  • loophole: a small mistake in an agreement or law which gives someone the chance to avoid having to do something - ช่องโหว่ในกฎหมาย, จุดอ่อน, ข้อบกพร่อง
  • manufacturer: a person or company that manufactures a product - ผู้ผลิต
  • medical: connected with illness and injury and their treatment - ทางการแพทย์, ด้านการแพทย์, เกี่ยวกับการแพทย์
  • ministry: a government department that has a particular area of responsibility - กระทรวง
  • natural: existing in nature; not made or caused by humans - เป็นธรรมชาติ, ตามธรรมชาติ
  • obesity: being overweight, which can have a negative effect on health -
  • pharmaceutical: connected with the production of medicines - เกี่ยวกับเภสัชกรรม, เกี่ยวกับยา
  • prompt: to cause something to happen or be done - ก่อให้เกิด
  • recommend (verb): to advise someone that they should do something - แนะนำ
  • reduce: to make something smaller or less in amount, size, importance etc - ลดลง
  • replace: to change from one thing to another - แทน
  • requirement: something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else - ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
  • revenue: income from taxes or business activities - รายได้
  • set to: ready to do something - พร้อม
  • soft drink (noun): nonalcoholic drink such as Coke or Fanta, soda, pop - เครื่องดื่มซึ่งไม่ใช่เหล้า, เครื่องดื่มชนิดอ่อน
  • source: a place where information comes from; someone who gives information - แหล่ง
  • survey: to ask a large number of people questions to find out their opinions - สำรวจ
  • tax: money that you have to pay to the government so that it can pay for public services - ภาษี
  • tax base: the people and companies who pay taxes, where taxes come from -
  • taxation (noun): the system/process of collection taxes from the people - ระบบการจัดเก็บภาษี
  • threshold: the level or point at which you start to experience something, or at which something starts to happen - จุดเริ่มของประสบการณ์หรือเหตุการณ์ใหม่ๆ
  • trim: to make something neater, smaller, better, etc, by cutting parts from it - ตัด
  • understate: making something seem less important, serious, big, etc. than it really is - ข้อความที่ไม่ครบตามความจริงทั้งหมด ที่ไม่เต็มเม็ดเต็มหน่วย
  • value: how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged - มูลค่า
  • vice- (pref): the second person in charge of and managing an organization - รอง
  • volume (noun): an amount of something - ปริมาณ
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