HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Cabinet approves tax reduction measures

Border customs to get one-stop-service centers

Chiang Rai businessmen head for China

Cabinet approves tax reduction measures

The cabinet has approved tax reduction measures for social support and assistance to low and medium income earners and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Finance Minster Somkid Jatusripitak disclosed.

The finance minister said the measures, if successfully implemented, would benefit the overall Thai economy since people would have more money left for spending and saving. It would also help boost local consumption, which could be used in place of state spending to drive the country’s economic growth. More importantly, he said, the tax reduction for SMEs would enable entrepreneurs to use money earned from the measures to expand their business.

Sirote Swasdipanich, director-general of the Revenue Department, said although the tax cut measures would cost the government more than 8.2 billion baht; the revenue loss had already been set aside.

Under the approved measures, an amount subject to a waiver on the personal income tax after deduction shall increase to 100,000 baht from 80,000 baht, applicable for incomes earned this year.

SMEs with a register capital of no more than 5 million baht shall be subject to a corporate tax of 15% collected on net profits of the first amount of one million baht, compared with 20% under the existing tax collection system.

For net profits of more than that amount, they will be subject to the same corporate tax rate of 15%, not to the progressive tax rate, applicable for companies or partnerships established in the accounting period on or after January 1, 2004. SMEs that earn revenue of no more than 1.8 million baht are not subject to value-added taxes.

The amount edges up from no more than 1.2 million baht under the existing system. This is applicable for revenue earned from April 1, 2005 onward. (TNA)

Border customs to get one-stop-service centers

Thailand plans to introduce one-stop service centers at some of the country’s border towns to help speed up customs procedures for traders, according to a senior customs official.

“One-stop centers will be established initially at four border checkpoints - Mae Sai checkpoint in northern Chiang Rai Province, Mae Sot checkpoint in Tak Province, Aranyaprathet checkpoint in Prachinburi Province bordering Cambodia, and another one in nearby Mukdaharn Province,” said the country’s chief customs official, Sathit Limpongpan.

“The one-stop-service center will cut down on the time consuming paperwork for cross-border traders and should also help increase the value of bilateral trade with our neighboring countries,” said Sathit.

Border trade has long been an important part of the Thai economy. Customs officials hope to provide a speedier service to traders to help boost border trade.

“Usually, to import certain goods from neighboring Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, local traders need special licenses. They must acquire these from various ministries – including the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and the Ministry of Health. In the past they had to make special trips to Bangkok and waste their time. In the near future, our one-stop-service centers at the border check points will issue all licenses on the spot. This will save a lot of time and effort, and allow the goods to be processed quickly. Thailand’s neighbors are expected to soon introduce a similar service for traders on their side of the border. Thai customs will begin a one-day-clearance service for cross-border traders from early next month. We will reduce the week-long process to only one day to save traders time and money,” Sathit said. (TNA)

Chiang Rai businessmen head for China

Staff reporters

A group of Thai businessmen left for China this week to negotiate with their Chinese counterparts in preparation for the opening of a product distribution center in Chiang Rai next year.

The 40 member delegation from the Asia-Pacific Economic and Trade Association traveled from Chiang Rai, being led by its president, Sathee Wanitchasatien.

Chiang Rai Governor Vorakiat Somsoi saw off the convoy, which will stop at Kengtung, Kunming and Nanning in Kwansi and Yunnan provinces in southern China.

Besides trade discussions, tourism promotion among Thai and Chinese business and tourism operators will also be discussed.

The Thai group businessmen will also attend the Expo China-Asean in Kunming.

Sathee said during the trip a cooperation agreement will be signed, by which China will help build the product distribution center.