US Trade Barriers with Thailand Remain
5 April 2010
Despite rumors signaling the improvement of Thailand’s status on the United States’ trade watch list, the US’s latest report on trade suggests that Thailand will remain as a Priority Watch List (PWL) country, media reported. The watch list monitors the trading policies and practices of the US’s trade partners. Without the status upgrade, Thailand’s exports to the US will still face high tariffs.
The Thai government had been pressing the US to change Thailand’s trade status to a “Watch List” country. Given Thailand’s recognized progress on protecting intellectual property rights, some Thai officials still put hopes on the high possibility of the status improvement.
The US National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers 2010, released by the office of the US Trade Representative at the end of March, cited the following problems, including: non-transparent practices, high tariffs, inadequate protection of intellectual property rights, and inefficient standard certification process.
Specifically, it said that Thailand’s Price Control policy was not transparent. The powers exercised by the Thai customs officials were also cited as non-transparent, due to their authority to increase the customs values of imports at will. Thailand’s high tariffs on US products, such as agricultural products (with tariff of 43%), processed food products (30 to 50% tariffs) and textile products (20% tariffs), were also cited in the report.
Thai Deputy Commerce Alongkorn Pollabutr still believes that Thailand will achieve an improvement on the watch list later in the year.