Thailand boosts oversight of agriculture imports to tackle smuggling

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The Ministry of Commerce in Thailand is ramping up its efforts to strengthen the oversight of agricultural product imports in an attempt to tackle smuggling in the country.

The Internal Trade Department’s deputy director-general, Chakra Yodmani, noted that his agency has instituted measures to control the flow of 10 different crops, including paddy and milled rice, government stockpiled rice, fresh cassava roots, tapioca chips, cassava seedlings or cuttings, palm oil, animal feed corn, wheat and barley, mature coconuts and coconut products, as well as onion and garlic. The aim is to deter smuggling and unlawful import activities.

Controlled areas have been established at customs checkpoints and several border locations. To transport goods beyond these controlled zones, proper authorisation is required.

Chakra stated that checkpoints are in place along transportation routes to verify permits and monitor for excessive amounts being transported. Offenders will face penalties, he warned.

These measures are in line with the Price of Goods and Services Act, granting the Central Committee on the Prices of Goods and Services the authority to evaluate the pricing, reported Bangkok Post.

Chakra further noted that the committee has recently agreed to extend price controls on 51 products and services for an additional year, with expiration due to occur on June 30, 2024. The updated price control list is set to be forwarded for Cabinet approval next Tuesday.

In a separate development, the director-general of the department, Wattanasak Sur-iam, announced that inspections of smuggled garlic had been carried out at fresh markets in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, specifically focusing on the Khlong Luang district in Pathum Thani.

During the inspections, around 27,000 kilograms of garlic, worth over 2 million baht (US$ 57,389) and originating from Laem Chabang Port in Chon Buri, were discovered. The transportation methods utilised for the shipment were found to be unauthorised and lacking proper permits.

Wattanasak affirmed that the truck drivers and the confiscated goods were handed over to the investigating officers at the Khlong Luang district police station for legal proceedings.

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