US extends tariff privileges for 11 Thai items

THE NATION October 3, 2015 1:00 am

THE United States has agreed to extend its Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) for 11 Thai products for another year, helping Thai exporters save at least Bt70 million in import tariffs, the Commerce Ministry reported.

Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said that for nine of the products, the US had decided to give tariff privileges even though they had more than 50 per cent of the import market but they did not exceed the value limit. The privileges were also extended to two products though they exceeded both the market-share and value limits.

The tariff waivers took effect this Thursday, October 1.

The products are fresh orchids, fresh durian, dried papaya, dried tamarind, processed corn, preserved fruits, processed papaya, processed food, ceramic dolls, processed coconut, and copper wire.

Apiradi said the waivers would save Thai exporters at least Bt70 million a year.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry announced controls on export of dual-use items, which are products or technologies that can be used for both beneficial and dangerous purposes, to ensure national security as well as to attract foreign investment, Apiradi said.

The law will go into force on January 1, 2018. About 1,230 items will need to comply with the new regulation.

Under the regulation, exporters of dual-use items need to get a permit from the ministry. An electronic system will check the name list of importers of dual-use items, to prevent Thai exporters becoming suppliers of dangerous substances or items for terrorists or other malefactors.

For instance, a dual-use item like carbon fibre can be used to make a tennis racquet but can also help produce a nuclear weapon, or managing steel can produce a golf club, while it can also be a material for missiles.

The move is in compliance with a United Nations agreement on weapons of mass destruction that requires member states to launch measures to control trading of dual-use items.

According to the ministry, Thailand exported Bt1.4 trillion worth of dual-use items in 2013. These involved about 14,707 exporters, and consisted of 73,971 dual-use items from various sectors.