KARON: The Customs and Excise Departments have recommended that the government scrap import duty on foreign-made yachts, the Director General of the Customs Department, Chavalit Sethameteekul, said today. K. Chavalit made the announcement before joining the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Sub-Committee on Customs Procedures this morning at the Phuket Arcadia Beach Resort. “Phuket will be a haven for yachts after the 0% taxes begin,” he said, explaining that the proposed changes came after Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak ordered the two departments to review import taxes on yachts at a meeting in early July. “It [scrapping import duty] has been proposed to the Finance Minister by the Excise Department and the Customs Department, and [the recommendation] will be forwarded to Cabinet for approval,” he said. “I believe that Phuket will be a haven for yachting and yacht-building industries in the near future,” he added. However, K. Chavalit did not mention whether Excise Tax or Interior Ministry Tax, which also apply to imported yachts, would also be scrapped, though he did say that value-added tax (VAT) would still apply. K. Chavalit also indicated that the government plans to cut taxes as a way to fight pirate goods. “We will push to reduce taxes on many high-end products, such as cosmetics, leather goods, watches and other products that tourists like. We may lose the tax from these products but we will derive income from tourism instead,” he said. The main focus of the meeting this morning was to discuss customs procedures to facilitate international trade with respect to two issues: globalization and security. “We will look into how we can develop better international commerce between private sectors [of different countries] together with heightened national security,” K. Chavalit said. To this end – and conforming with the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) agreement that Thailand signed in August last year – K. Chavalit explained, “The government has approved spending of almost 4 billion baht to improve customs control systems, especially for inspecting cargo containers, including X-ray machines to identify the contents of containers. This will make cargo transportation easier and safer.”
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