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Exporters urged to benefit from 2nd wave of FTA tariff elimination

The Nation, Bangkok

Exporters urged to benefit from 2nd wave of FTA tariff elimination

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai

28 August 2009

Another 12,500 products falling under free-trade agreements with five trading partners will be subject to zero tariff rates come January in the second phase of import-duty reduction.

Tariff elimination comes under the FTAs signed by the Kingdom with Australia, New Zealand, Japan as well as those agreed under Asean with China and South Korea.

When implementing a zero-tariff regime, the FTAs will boost the country’s export competitiveness and lead to more market access.

Nuntawan Sakuntanaga, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said yesterday that a wide variety of products - including smoked fish, frozen squid, non-alcoholic drinks, plastic goods, tyres, refrigerators, washing machines, tapioca flour, synthetic fibres, spectacle lenses and copper sheeting - would benefit from zero tariffs from January 1, 2010.

"Thai exporters should focus more on exporting to these five markets," she said.

The implementation of the Thailand-Australia FTA in 2005 has resulted in the elimination of tariffs covering some 5,344 products.

Another 529 products will come under the zero-tariff scheme next year, including tyres, rubber gloves, air-conditioner parts, car radios and auto parts.

However, taxes on another 239 products under the commitment will not be eliminated until after next year.

The Thailand-New Zealand FTA was also agreed in 2005, under which 7,237 products were targeted for tariff elimination. The import duties on 6,058 products have already been eliminated, and another 518 products will come under the scheme next year.

Nuntawan said the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement had already cut tariffs to zero on 7,230 products out of a total of 9,055. However, products including smoked fish, frozen squid, food products and non-alcoholic drinks will not be subject to the zero rate until next year.

The FTA under the Asean scheme with China has already eliminated tariffs on 3,906 products from the agreed total of 7,605. The two sides are committed to cutting tariffs to zero on another 2,660 products next year. These include tapioca flour, plastic products and spectacle lenses.

The Asean-South Korea FTA, which was signed this year, allows both sides to benefit from zero tariffs on 1,836 products from the total commitment of 11,703 items.

It will eliminate tariffs on another 8,961 products next year, including crude oil, sugar, tyres and copper sheeting.