Foreign Trade Department launches integrated digital services

In an initiative to increase ease of doing business in the Kingdom, Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade launched a package of integrated digital services last week that it said would cut operating costs, save time, and improve efficiency for importers and exporters.

Businesspeople can now access a total of 11 of the services offered by the department online. The services are integrated and combined and should cut time and expense for importers and exporters, said Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the department.

The new digital services are also linked to the National Single Window (NSW), a customs portal where import license approvals for all 33 related agencies are housed in a single place to comply with the government drive to ease doing business in Thailand. They are also linked to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window (ASW).

Thailand has been making concerted efforts to improve its ease of doing business, and the results of those efforts are being increasingly recognized. The World Bank ranked the Kingdom 26th out of 190 countries in its 2018 Global Ease of Doing Business report. That was a marked improvement over its rank of 48th in the world the previous year. The World Bank said Thailand was in the top 10 countries in terms of improvement.

“Thailand has made immense progress in doing business reforms this past year, with strong government leadership at the highest levels,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Director for Thailand, Malaysia, and Regional Partnerships, when the report was released late last year. “With its 26th place ranking, Thailand has risen into the top 15 percent of countries globally in the ease of doing business – a great achievement.”

The 11 services available online include e-Register, which lets importers and exporters ask for a license through the electronic system; Rules of Origin Verification Systems, which verify the rules of origin for export and import goods that are entitled to trade privileges under free trade agreements (FTAs) or the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP); and e-CO, which provides Rules of Origin certification for products under FTAs or GSP.

Other services include the rules of origin database and details of customs tariffs under ASEAN FTAs and trading partners; e-License, which offers license and certification for export and import goods via the electronic system; and product standard certification and e-TCWMD (Trade Controls on Weapons of Mass Destruction), the IT system that certifies dual-use items (DUI) – goods that have both a commercial and military use.