Customs Department goes paperless for ease of business


Trading with Thailand is becoming faster and more efficient. The Customs Department has increased ease of doing business by adopting paperless forms and e-payments that were used for 99 percent of all goods passing through Thai ports in 2018, the Department said last week.

Since the Customs Department implemented the Pre-Arrival Processing (PAP) e-bill payment and e-customs clearance systems, backlogs in passing through ports of entry are decreasing. The time it takes for air, and sea cargo to clear customs has been shortened by between two and six hours, according to Krisada Chinavicharana, director-general of the Customs Department.

The World Bank ranked Thailand 27th out of 190 countries in its most recent annual Ease of Doing Business Report. Thailand’s ease of doing business score, an absolute measure of the country’s progress towards global best practices, increased to 78.45 in the 2019 report from 77.39 in the previous year’s report.

Of the various pillars measured in the World Bank report, Thailand scored 84.6 out of a possible 100 points in ease of trading across borders. That was better than the regional average for East Asia and the Pacific, which was 71.5 points. Trading across borders was Thailand’s third-strongest pillar following ease of getting electricity at 98.5 points and ease of starting a business at 92.7 points.

The Thai government has made improving ease of doing business a national priority for the Kingdom to stay competitive in trade and development. It has altered and amended a range of regulations and reduced barriers to make Thailand more attractive for foreign investors and both importers and exporters.

Most developed countries around the world are already using the PAP system. E-bill payment, which the Customs Department put into practice last month, lets exporters, importers and shippers pay all customs-related bills through internet banking, mobile banking, ATM, bank branch or counter service.

Thailand is an export-oriented economy and relies on robust trade to drive growth and revenues. Speeding and simplifying clearance processes and procedures should help boost trade to and from the Kingdom.

Krisada said that the procedures are eliminating 60 million paper documents each year, and saving the department about $1 million in costs.