27 Sept 2017
Import/Export Procedures of Thailand
As one of the WTO’s founding members in 1995, Thailand is committed to developing international trade through bilateral and multilateral arrangements, with the following trade agreements in place or being negotiated:
- Regional free trade agreements (FTAs) signed under the auspices of ASEAN with six countries individually, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. The FTA between ASEAN and Hong Kong will be signed in November 2017 after 10 rounds of negotiations.
- Eight bilateral agreements with Bahrain, Japan, Laos, China, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and Peru.
- Negotiations ongoing to develop trade agreements with India, Pakistan, the EU and the US.
Thailand’s key trading partners include US, Japan, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, with one-third of merchandise exports going to these places. Major items exported include computers and parts, automobiles and parts, machinery and equipment. For a full analysis on trade policy see the Thailand Market Profile on the HKTDC website.
Import and Export Requirements
Hong Kong companies must complete the following steps:
1. Obtain an import licence, if required:
- At present more than 20 classes of goods require import licences from the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) prior to importation. Licences are required for the import of raw materials, petroleum, industrial, textiles and agricultural items. Further information can be found on the Thai Customs website.
- Some local laws and regulations require approval from relevant Thai authorities prior to the importation of certain goods. For example, importation of certain foods, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products requires approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Thai Customs may offer further guidance.
2. Complete an Import/Export Declaration Form and submit, along with supporting documents (e.g. invoice, import licence (if applicable), and certificate of origin), through the e-Customs system.
A list of prohibited items can be found on the Thai Customs website.
Tariff Classification and Import/Export Duties
Thailand adopts the Harmonised System (HS) and duties are collected on both imports and selected exports. All imports are subject to VAT (exports are exempt) and some imports are subject to excise tax (e.g. gasoline, alcohol, and electrical appliances).
The applicable rates are dependent on the origin of the goods and a certificate of origin will need to be presented. There are three applicable categories of import duties:
1. Special preferential rates – applicable if there is a trade arrangement in place (e.g. ASEAN member states). Thailand has eliminated intra-ASEAN import duties on 99.65% of their tariff lines.
2. Preferential rates – applicable if the country has a Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status with Thailand. In 2015 Thailand’s average MFN applied tariff was 11% (World Trade Organisation, 2016).
3. Ordinary rates – applicable for any other country.
The applicable rates can be found on Thailand’s Integrated Tariff Database.
Almost all goods have zero export duties with the exemption of certain goods and agricultural products, e.g., latex, lumber, rice, and rubber sheets.
Product Standards and Labelling Requirements
The Thai Industrial Standard Institute of the Ministry of Industry has responsibility for the development of National Standards and product labelling.
- Regulatory Environment
- Establishing a Presence
- Intellectual Property Protection
- Staff Recruitment
- Tax Considerations
- Import/Export Procedures
- Further Information