Eight goods subject to import watch
Thailand has recently enforced stringent rules on the importation of four agricultural products and four industrial items to protect its farmers and enterprises ahead of the upcoming Asean seamless market.
The products subject to close management are cassava, red onions, oranges, pork entrails, rubber tyres, electric fans, rice cookers and incandescent lamps.
Pranee Siriphand, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, yesterday said the Asean Economic Community (AEC) would not only promote the export of Thai goods, but also challenge local businesses to achieve higher competitiveness.
"The department needs to have stringent regulations in place to manage goods imports from other Asean countries; six products must be closely monitored because of high competition, while it also has to be involved with consumers' health and safety," she said.
Under the new rules, which have been in effect since the start of the year, businesses require an import licence from the department before bringing the designated goods into the country. Each importer will also need to provide certification on sanitary and rules-of-origin grounds, as well as a standard certification of goods.
Moreover, the location where the goods are to be stocked has to be separate from other products, while importers will also be required to notify the authorities of their imports, exports, distribution and stocks every month to prevent goods circumvention and smuggling. Pranee said such stringent measures were deemed necessary to protect local farmers and producers from unfair traders, as production costs differed between Thailand and other Asean member states.
The department discussed its proposals with local importers and producers before introducing the rules. They agreed that Thailand needed to monitor closely the import of the eight products as a matter of priority because although similar types of goods were made here and elsewhere in the region, standards and production costs varied across Asean, she said.