THAI CUSTOMS LAW: Capability and efficiency of Customs Revision


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March 18, 2011



Preparing Thailand to be one of competitive location for Worldwide's business operations, the Customs law has been drafted and now completed after two-year processes of amendment. The purposes of this amendment are to improve the efficiency of customs law and to increase transparency.

The important parts of the amendment include: the change of how officials are compensated for enforcement actions, the authority of the director-general to decide tariff cases and how to appeal Tax disputes to the Court.

The reward to Customs Officers will be cut from 25 percent of penalties levied to be 15 percent, and the total rewarded to Customs officers will now be capped at the maximum amount of 5 million baht per case. The change of penalties and the reward amount will fix a conflict of interest existing for Customs officers who are in charge of facilitating trade.

The amendment is also make it easier for citizens to request an appeal of Customs Department judgments as under the exciting law compel the Judge to assess a fixed penalty that could be 20 or 30 times higher than what would they have to be paid if one settled at the Custom Department.  The drafts allow the Court to levy penalties according to the type and severity of offense. The strongest penalties would be reserved for smugglers, while administrative errors would garner a penalty of 0.5 to 4 percent of the import value. The change of Court Appeal will be necessary for Thailand to still remain competitive and succeed in the new environment.

Businesses can create a reliable estimate for importation costs as the department can inform them about the taxes and duties to be levied on machinery, products, materials or other items before they purchase and import it. The amendment also allows for new services to be introduced to alert businesses all of the conditions to import and export certain goods and materials to circumvent mistakes and delays. Some activities will now be able to be completed online on a new website. A new electronic system linking several state agencies will allow businesses to obtain necessary permits and paperwork without visiting where the related departments are located.

The amendment will facilitate to the investors and affect to Thailand economics to decrease the cost and it is more convenient to contact with the Customs procedure that it enhances Thai business competition to be the same standard with others.



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