Kasikorn centre: Help farmers as ASEAN lifts tariffs January 1
Concerned agencies should provide assistance to Thai
farmers and agricultural workers so that their produce could retain
competitiveness in the world market after Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) member states begin reducing import tariffs to zero from
January 1, according to a report issued by Kasikorn Research Centre.
The report said that Thai sugarcane and sugar industries will reach a
crucial turning point after ASEAN members start reducing import tariffs to
zero from January 1.
Most ASEAN members must still rely on imports of sugar while Thailand can
export more than 70 percent of total production, the report said. Over 37
percent of Thailand’s total crop is now being shipped to other ASEAN
In order to enable the ability of the Thai sugarcane growing and sugar
processing industries to remain competitive, concerned agencies including
the government, sugar refineries and growers should be well prepared and
plan measures to respond to the impact which might affect the industries
after the agreement takes effect, it said.
Thailand along with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Brunei,
Vietnam, Lao, Myanmar and Cambodia are ASEAN members.
The report said the upcoming reduction of import tariffs will also affect
coffee growers due to production costs which are higher than those in the
rest of ASEAN, but Thai coffee growers still enjoy a better quality of
coffee beans when compared to neighboring countries and growers should
maintain their quality standards.
Under the agreement, tariffs for Thai instant coffee will also be lowered to
zero but tariffs for coffee beans will be reduced to 5 percent because the
product is considered as a sensitive product.
Better know-how along with improved coffee products should be given to Thai
coffee growers so that Thai coffee can compete in the market, the report