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Thailand proposes comprehensive excise tax package for automobile sector and certain “harmful” foods

On 6 November 2018, Thailand’s Director-General of the Excise Department (the Department) announced that the department is planning to seek the Thai Cabinet’s approval by the end of 2018 for a comprehensive excise tax package for electric vehicles (EVs), motorcycles based on carbon dioxide emissions and high-sodium and trans-fat foods. The package is aimed at supporting government-targeted industries known as S-curve industries,1 that would help people minimize health problems and reduce long-term public spending on health costs.

Tax incentives for EVs are meant to draw EV and parts manufacturers to invest in Thailand, particularly battery makers, since batteries are the heart of EV manufacturing. The Department has formed a committee comprising representatives from parties such as the Industry Ministry, the Commerce Ministry and auto manufacturers to work out details of the tax measures for EVs.

In addition, subsequent to introduction of the sugar tax on beverages in September 2017, the Department’s next target for excise tax is foods with high sodium and saturated fat content. Targeted food products may include instant noodles and snacks. A five-year transition period is expected to be offered to local food manufacturers to cut salt and saturated fat levels in their products to reduce the impact of proposed excise tax imposition.

Endnote

1. The S-curve industries under Thailand 4.0 policy consist of the first five S-curve industries, which are: (1) next-generation automotive, (2) smart electronics, (3) agriculture and biotechnology, (4) food for future, and (5) affluent, medical and wellness tourism; and five new S-curve industries, which are: (1) digital, (2) robotics and automation, (3) aviation and logistics, (4) biofuels and biochemicals, and (5) medical hub.

EYG no. 012060-18Gbl

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