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Understanding the Thailand customs and trade environment

Navigating through Thailand’s labyrinth of customs legislation and legal framework can be challenging for companies, especially with the vast number of different regulations that could apply when importing/exporting goods and the number of government agencies that could be involved when moving goods in- and outside of Thailand.  Combined with Thai Customs becoming more sophisticated in their approach on post clearance audits and investigations to ensure compliance and collect revenue and Thailand’s customs penalty regime in case of non-compliance, companies find themselves quite often at the back foot when dealing with Thai Customs.

On the other hand, as part of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) integration process, Thai Customs has implemented procedures and special schemes to facilitate trade such as the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) schemes, Thai National Single Window (NSW) etc.  The Government has developed various attractive duty saving facilities to draw foreign investment in various economic sectors which range from duty and incentives under the Board of Investment, Free Zones privileges to duty drawback schemes.  Thailand has also stepped its efforts in concluding more FTAs which provide Thai companies better market access opportunities in other countries and import duty benefits in Thailand.

To take advantage of the available opportunities, it is important for companies to understand the differences among the various customs procedures and privileges and their corresponding requirements, in order to identify the optimal privilege that is suitable for your business.

Equipping yourselves with the knowledge and understanding of the latest trends in Customs’ perspective of each technical area could help mitigate customs risks.  Thus, improving your competitiveness through customs planning should go hand in hand with adoption of the best practice in customs compliance and risk management.