New Customs Act will help ease of doing business

customs-in-thailandThe new Customs Act recently passed by the National Legislative Assembly will help ease of doing business by shortening the time for clearances, audits and investigations to periods more in line with the best of global standards, said Kan Trakulhoon, chairman of the Pracha Rat public-private cooperation initiative.

Robust trade and an open economy have been key ingredients in Thailand’s successful development over the past several decades. However, similar to many developing economies, the country’s trading infrastructure periodically needs tweaks, adjustments and reforms to increase efficiencies.

The new version of the Customs Act was the result of a long period of collaboration between government and the private sector.  Already approved by the National Legislative Assembly, the Act will come into force in about six months after meeting required internal procedure.

“The private sector welcomes these changes since the related government agencies will better facilitate commerce and cut down on loopholes, which have ramped up the cost of doing business,” Kan said.

The collaboration is evidence of the government’s desire to create an environment that best serves business for the benefit of the country, its economy and development. Delays and inconsistent decisions at ports of entry are a common complaint among business people and traders in many countries. With the new Customs Act helping to improve its systems, Thailand’s competitiveness should rise.

Kulis Sombatsiri, director-general of the Customs Department, said the Customs Act is one of 24 tax laws that the government has rewritten or amended to meet international standards and better support trade and investment. The aim is to improve Thailand’s competitive advantages among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The amendment will also improve transparency, he said.

In another development related to increasing the Kingdom’s competitiveness, the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and state-energy giant PTT officially launched the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECI) last week, a joint project covering 1,186 acres in Rayong province.

Science and Technology Minister Atchaka Sibunruang said the EECI would be a home for a research and development (R&D) and innovation center to serve both the public and private sectors.

Research will be directed towards several areas that are integral to Thailand 4.0, the national strategy to upgrade Thailand’s economy. They include automobiles; smart electronics; petrochemicals; aviation; energy; food, agriculture and biotechnology; public health, healthcare, biomedical technology; robotics and smart devices; digital economy, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence; and creative economy, culture and lifestyle.