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Kasikorn centre: Help farmers as ASEAN lifts tariffs January 1

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 countries.
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 added. (TNA)