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Fish farmers up in arms at proposed FTA with EFTA members

The Nation Thailand - 19 March 2024

Fish farmers up in arms at proposed FTA with EFTA members

The FTA with EFTA, which has four members namely Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, would allow tariff-free import of fish from these countries to Thailand, thus bypassing the current 5% tax.

Bangjong Nisapawanich, president of the Federation of Thai Aquaculture, said the removal of import tax would result in an influx of foreign fish to Thai markets, affecting local farmers as has been seen with the FTAs with ASEAN members and China.

“Furthermore, the current 5% tax is already low,” he said. “Without it, we would see the influx of foreign fish such as salmon, mackerel, and cod that would take market share from local fish farmers.”

He added that the government has so far not provided any protection or compensation measures for these groups.

Bangjong said he believed that keeping the 5% tax would not severely affect domestic consumers, as currently some of these foreign fish already retail for less than domestically raised fish, such as the Nile tilapia.

“We need to be extra careful when negotiating the FTA to make sure that the livelihood and businesses of local entrepreneurs and farmers are not affected,” he said. “Domestic fish have been providing career opportunities for farmers, operators of related industries, as well as their supply chain providers.”

 source: The Nation Thailand