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Trade facilitation

NCPO gives go-ahead for WTO pact

The National Council for Peace and Order has given the green light for Thailand to ink the World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which is supposed to make it easier for companies to achieve sustainable business growth in the international arena.

The move is intended to show that the country is prompt and active in terms of participating in international trade rules and the multilateral trading system, despite currently being under military rule.

Chutima Bunyapraphasara, permanent secretary of the Commerce Ministry, yesterday said the NCPO had agreed that the Kingdom needed to comply with the TFA, as it would help facilitate trading and investment growth.

Having received the NCPO's approval, the ministry will soon inform the WTO about Thailand's decision, so that the country can sign up to the commitments contained in the agreement, she said.

The TFA contains provisions for faster and more efficient customs procedures through effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs-compliance issues.

It also contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity-building in this area.

Among the issues addressed in the agreement are norms for the publication of laws, regulations and procedures, including Internet publication, provision for advance rulings, disciplines on fees and charges and on penalties, pre-arrival processing of goods, and use of electronic payment.

Other issues include guarantees to allow rapid release of goods, use of "authorised operators" schemes, procedures for expediting shipments, faster release of perishable goods, reduced documentation and formalities with common customs standards, promotion of the use of a single window, uniformity in border procedures, temporary admission of goods, simplified transit procedures, and provisions for customs cooperation and coordination.

Chutima said all sectors - including private enterprises, government agencies and academics - had supported Thailand's compliance with the TFA because they believed it would benefit the Kingdom in terms of achieving sustainable business growth.

The WTO agreement will help facilitate enterprises on trading and investment, as well as support the goal of the country becoming a regional trading centre, she said.

It will also reduce financial burdens and save time for enterprises, and create stability in regard to international trade regulations, she added.


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