Thailand’s luxury imports set for duty cut

Bangkok, Jan 6 (IANS) In an effort to boost spending by tourists, Thailand’s Customs Department is poised to cut the 30 percent import duty being levied on luxury items, a media report said on Wednesday.

The department will convene a meeting with the private sector this month to arrange the tariff reduction before forwarding it to finance permanent secretary Somchai Sujjapongse for deliberation, director-general Kulit Sombatsiri said.

The move follows frequent requests by the private sector to promote Thailand as a tourist shopping paradise while encouraging Thai consumers to shop at home instead of abroad, The Bangkok Post reported.

Kulit said his department might allow an increase in the number of duty-free shops and collection centres to facilitate tourists.

The 10 collection centres for duty-free items are thought to be insufficient to provide services for both Thai and foreign tourists.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said cutting the import tariff on luxury products would help to promote tourism and turn the country into a shopping paradise for foreigners especially from China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

“We hope this measure will help to lift tourist spending on shopping by 15-20 percent,” Yuthasak added.

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