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  1. #1
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    Manila seeks WTO probe of Thai cigarette import rules

    Manila seeks WTO probe of Thai cigarette import rules
    Tuesday October 21 2008

    GENEVA, Oct 21 (Reuters) - The Philippines asked on Tuesday for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to investigate Thailand's treatment of cigarette imports.

    In its request to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body, the Philippines made clear it was not challenging Thailand's right to impose tobacco market regulations to fit public health goals.

    "What the Philippines seeks is very simple: that within whatever regulatory framework Thailand chooses for itself, imported cigarettes be treated fairly, both at the border and in the internal market, and in a non-discriminatory and transparent manner," Manila said in a statement.

    "Currently, these basic requirements are not fulfilled because the playing field on which imported and domestic cigarettes compete is uneven," it continued.

    Thailand rejected the initial request for a WTO panel, as it is allowed to do under international trade rules, in order to seek more time for consultations about the dispute.

    "We believe that Thai customs and fiscal laws are fully consistent with Thailand's WTO obligations. We also believe that this matter can be resolved bilaterally and remain open to further consultations with the Philippines," Bangkok said.

    If the Philippines makes a second request at the next Dispute Settlement Body meeting, on Nov. 17, the panel will be set up automatically.

    The Thailand Tobacco Monopoly dominates the Thai market, and the Philippines' biggest cigarette manufacturer is Fortune Tobacco Corp. The two countries are allies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

    (Reporting by Laura MacInnis)

    guardian.co.uk

  2. #2
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    Thailand To Face WTO Investigation On Cigarettes


    Smuggled cigarettes

    The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is set to investigate Thailand's treatment of imported cigarettes later this month, according to a meeting agenda circulated on Friday. The document about a Nov. 17 meeting of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body shows that the Philippines has lodged a second request for a panel to look into what it calls discriminatory practices against cigarettes entering Thailand.

    Thailand had blocked the initial request to allow more time for talks to resolve the dispute, as is allowed under WTO rules. On the second request, a panel is launched automatically.

    The Philippines said it was seeking to ensure that imported cigarettes get fair treatment at the border and in the Thai market, which is dominated by the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

    "Currently, these basic requirements are not fulfilled because the playing field on which imported and domestic cigarettes compete is uneven," Manila told the WTO.

    Thailand responded saying its customs and fiscal laws were fully consistent with WTO rules, and hoped to resolve the matter through bilateral talks.

    The Philippines' biggest cigarette manufacturer is Fortune Tobacco Corp. The two countries are allies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) along with Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.

    javno.com

  3. #3
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    Looks like another country on the blacklist.

  4. #4
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    WTO probes Thai barriers to foreign cigarettes
    Nov. 17, 2008, 8:28AM

    GENEVA — The World Trade Organization opened an investigation Monday into Thai import charges on foreign cigarettes, acting on a complaint from the Philippines.

    Manila alleged in its complaint earlier this year that its cigarette exporters were being unfairly targeted by Thailand's customs rules.

    The Philippines said Monday that it has "continuously" worked with Thailand to reach an out-of-court agreement, but to no avail.

    Thailand told the WTO's dispute body it was disappointed that the Philippines had asked for an investigative panel. It said it was still interested in negotiations.

    Once the trade body assigns arbitrators, the panel will have nine months to produce a ruling. Punitive sanctions can result from WTO cases — but usually only after years of litigation.

    chron.com

  5. #5
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Odd. My Marlboro's are labeled "Made by Phillip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc., Batangas, Philippines"?

    What is the specific dispute all about?

  6. #6
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    suspect they want to sell them at the same price as local cigs ??

  7. #7
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    Trade dispute decision pushed back

    May 11, 2010
    The release of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) preliminary ruling on a tobacco tax dispute between the Philippines and Thailand has been pushed back, according to a story in The Manila Times.

    The Philippines’ trade assistant secretary, Jose Antonio Buencamino, said recently that the dispute settlement panel would release a report on the interim review by the end of June. The final report might be released by August, he added.

    The WTO’s decision had been expected during the early part of this year, but it was delayed several times.

    The Philippines lodged a case against Thailand at the WTO, alleging the latter violated global trade rules when it set higher customs values for Philippine cigarettes and increased the retail prices of imported cigarettes.

    The Philippines alleged also that Thailand did so to protect a state-owned tobacco manufacturer.

    tobaccoreporter.com

  8. #8
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    Philippines welcomes WTO Thai cigarette tax ruling
    (Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Michael Roddy)
    Fri Aug 6, 2010

    * Manila satisfied with ruling, no detailed comment

    * Ruling to be published in a few weeks

    * Philippines challenged Thai customs valuations

    GENEVA, Aug 6 (Reuters) - The Philippines has welcomed a ruling by the World Trade Organization on its complaint over Thai taxes on imported cigarettes, suggesting that Manila has won the dispute with its southeast Asian neighbour.

    The case turns on "customs valuation" -- the value put by customs officials on imports which can differ from that declared by the importer, and is often a source of trade disputes.

    Manuel Teehankee, Philippine ambassador to the WTO, declined to comment specifically on the outcome of the case or even say whether Manila had won, because the ruling is still confidential while the WTO panel's report is translated into the trade body's official languages.

    But Teehankee said in a statement:

    "The Philippines is satisfied with the findings and rulings of the panel which strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, and addresses Philippine concerns regarding the treatment by the Thai government of Philippine cigarettes exports."

    No comment was immediately available from Thailand's WTO mission in Geneva.

    Teehankee said a series of customs valuation and domestic taxation measures starting in 2006 had undermined the competitiveness of imported cigarettes against those produced by the state-controlled Thailand Tobacco Monopoly.

    This hurt Philippine exporters such as the local operation of Philip Morris International (PM.N) as well as tobacco growers in the archipelago.

    Thai customs stopped accepting the transaction value declared by importers and set their own higher valuation as a basis for import duties.

    They also calculated a higher value- added tax for imported cigarettes, Philippine officials said.

    The Philippines complained to Thailand that these measures were discriminatory and broke international trade rules.

    After consultations between the two states to resolve the matter the WTO set up a panel in 2008 to rule on the dispute.

    The report, which has been issued confidentially to the two parties, will be published in a few weeks, after which both sides have 60 days in which to appeal.

    uk.reuters.com
    Last edited by Mid; 06-08-2010 at 06:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Manuel Teehankee, Philippine ambassador to the WTO, said in a statement: 'The Philippines is satisfied with the findings and rulings of the panel which strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, and addresses Philippine concerns regarding the treatment by the Thai government of Philippine cigarettes exports.'

    WTO cig tax ruling accepted

  10. #10
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    Philippines wins WTO cigarette tax case vs Thailand
    Lala Rimando
    11/16/2010

    MANILA, Philippines – The World Trade Organization (WTO) favored the Philippines over Thailand on a trade dispute that involves cigarette import taxes.

    “We certainly won,” Solicitor General Joel Cadiz, who is currently in WTO’s Geneva office in Switzerland, told abs-cbnnews.com in a phone interview.

    “I was told about it last night,” he added, referring to the WTO decision on Monday.

    The case stems from a 2008 complaint from the Philippines, where Philip Morris operates two plants for manufacturing cigarettes.

    The cigarettes are slapped higher taxes when the multinational firm’s sister company in Thailand imports from the Philippines.

    Thailand has only one cigarette manufacturer, the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM), which is under the Ministry of Finance in Bangkok.

    The Philippines, which is represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, has claimed that Thailand violated WTO rules when it set higher customs values for Philippine-made cigarettes.

    Customs values are the basis for calculating customs duties and other taxes.

    The country also questioned the higher maximum retail prices slapped on imported Philippine-made cigarettes.

    These are the basis for assessing value-added taxes.

    Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. (PMPMI) exported 6.8 billion sticks to Thailand in 2009, lower than the 8 billion sticks it used to export from its manufacturing plant in Batangas.

    Thailand is a southeast Asian neighbor.

    Since PMPMI sources some of its tobacco leaves from farms based in northern Luzon, the Philippine panel had noted that the livelihood of Virginia tobacco farmers were also at stake.

    Thailand has 60 days to appeal the decision before the WTO.

    Meanwhile, Philip Morris’ local office “welcomed” the WTO decision.

    “Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc. welcomes the decision of the World Trade Organization over the tax dispute between the Philippines and Thailand,” PMPMI Managing Director Chris Nelson said in a statement.

    “We hope that with the WTO decision, all issues relating to Philip Morris exports to Thailand will be settled favorably by Thai authorities,” he added.

    PMPMI has retained the export business when it formed a joint venture with Lucio Tan-led Fortune Tobacco Corporation in February 2010.

    The joint venture, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp., focuses on the local market.

    abs-cbnnews.com

  11. #11
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    Cigarette exports up by 13% in 2010—PMFTC
    Othel V. Campos

    Dominant cigarette maker PMFTC Inc. said Tuesday exports rose nearly 13 percent in 2010 to 7 billion sticks from 6.2 billion in 2009.

    “There seems to be an increase in demand for cigarettes in Thailand. All the same, we’re glad that despite local concerns, the company maintains a small, gradual increase in output and sales,” PMFTC president Chris Nelson told reporters in a briefing.

    PMFTC, the company resulting from the merger of tycoon Lucio Tan’s Fortune Tobacco Corp. and Philip Morris Philippines Inc. last year, now has a virtual monopoly of the cigarette industry, with combined sales accounting for 92.8 percent of the market.

    Combined output in 2010 reached 85.2 billion units. No comparative figure in 2009 was available since Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco merged just in Feb. 25, 2010.

    The company declined to give an estimate on 2010 profits, saying they would be announced in April.

    “Let’s just wait for the audited report that is due by April 15,” said corporate communications manager Chita Laysa Herce.

    Shipments of the Philip Morris brands increased 10.7 percent, fueled by the growth of Marlboro and Philip Morris products.

    The company is looking at expanding its output by another 765 metric tons of burley tobacco in Mindoro. About 450 hectares of land in Mindoro might be converted into tobacco farm, officials said.

    PMFTC buys dried tobacco leaves directly from farmers and suppliers at about P68 per kilo. It supports about 3,500 hectares of tobacco farms in Isabela with technical assistance to farmers.

    PMFTC, meanwhile, said it did not favor the proposed reclassification of tobacco into two or one categories, saying it would cause a spike in taxes.

    manilastandardtoday.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Thailand has only one cigarette manufacturer, the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM), which is under the Ministry of Finance in Bangkok.
    Not even trying to hide their 'monopoly', these famillies that control these nice positions...

  13. #13
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    PHL wants to keep ties with Thailand despite WTO ruling on export row
    — with a report by Bea Cupin/LBG, GMA News
    06/19/2011

    Despite Malacańang's elation over the World Trade Organization's siding with the Philippines in the tobacco export dispute with Thailand, the Palace last Friday expressed hope the ruling would not strain relations between the two countries.

    “We are hopeful hindi magkakaroon ng epekto sa napakagandang relasyon sa ating kapitbahay na Thailand. Ang dispute mechanism sa WTO are there to resolve trade issues tulad ng inakyat natin at yan ang nangyari," Deputy president spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

    She added that in filing a complaint with the WTO, the Philippine government only wanted to level the playing field for Filipino tobacco farmers.

    In 2008, the Philippines filed complaint against Thailand because Bangkok allegedly violated WTO rules by imposing unfair trading practices on Philippine cigarette exports. By September of that year, the Philippine requested for a panel to discuss the issue.

    The WTO Dispute Settlement Body released on November 15, 2010, its official report findings in favor of the Philippines, “that Thailand acted inconsistently with WTO rules in valuing Philippine cigarette exports for customs purposes and in failing to treat imported cigarettes the same way as locally-manufactured cigarettes."

    In late 2010, the WTO ruled in favor of the Philippines.

    In the November 15, 2010 decision, the WTO said "that Thailand acted inconsistently with WTO rules in valuing Philippine cigarette exports for customs purposes and in failing to treat imported cigarettes the same way as locally-manufactured cigarettes."

    The WTO then ask the Thailand government to "bring its inconsistent measures into conformity with its WTO obligations."

    The Philippines alleged that Thailand's custom valuation's practices, excise tax, health tax, TV tax, value added tax (VAT) regime, retail licensing requirements and import guarantees imposed on cigarette importers were affecting Philippine exports.

    According to the complaint, the measures instituted by the Thai government were violating the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.
    gmanews.tv

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton
    What is the specific dispute all about?
    Import taxes I believe which I think are quite a bit higher than applied to cigs from Burma? I may be wrong but I couldn't smoke the shite that comes from Burma anyway.

  15. #15
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    Thailand likely to take a year over WTO ruling
    Jun 21, 2011

    The Philippines expects Thailand to take about a year to revise its cigarette duties in compliance with a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling, according to a Business World story.

    In a ruling released on June 17, the WTO said that Thailand had acted inconsistently with WTO rules in valuing Philippine cigarette exports for customs purposes and in failing to treat imported cigarettes the same way as locally-manufactured cigarettes were treated.

    Ambassador Manuel A. J. Teehankee, outgoing permanent representative of the Philippines at the trade body, told Business World that the WTO would give Thailand a reasonable period to comply – about eight to 15 months

    As a customs valuation case, there was only one option for the Thai government, and that was to respect the transaction value of the product, unless there were evidence of fraud, he added.

    The Philippines arm of Philip Morris International, meanwhile, expects the period to be shorter.

    "The Thai government is given at least six months or less than a year to comply with the decision," Chris Nelson, managing director of Philip Morris Philippine Manufacturing, was reported to have said.

    tobaccoreporter.com

  16. #16
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    WTO upholds PH win in cigarette tax dispute
    07/19/2011

    MANILA, Philippines - A World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling favoring the Philippines over Thailand in a cigarette tax dispute has become final, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

    Citing a report from the Philippine mission to WTO in Geneva, the DFA said the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) formally adopted on July 15 earlier findings that Thailand violated trade rules by slapping higher taxes on cigarette imports from the Philippines.

    The WTO Panel ruled against Thailand in a November 12, 2010 report, which was later affirmed by the Appellate Body.

    "The adoption of the Panel and Appellate Body reports by the DSB was the final step in these dispute settlement proceedings. Thailand will now have 30 days to inform the DSB of its intentions in respect of implementation of the recommendations and rulings," DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario said in a statement posted on the agency's website.

    The dispute started in 2006 when the Philippines complained that Thailand was imposing a series of higher customs values for Philippine-made cigarettes to protect the latter's sole cigarette manufacturer, Thai Tobacco Monopoly.

    Customs values are the basis for calculating customs duties and other taxes.

    abs-cbnnews.com

  17. #17
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    ^ standard practice here. The big Thai families don't like fair competition...

  18. #18
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    Thailand may face WTO penalties on PHL cigarettes
    June 26, 2012

    The Philippines will seek compensation and suspension of concessions penalties from Thailand if the Department of Trade and Industry discovers that Thailand failed to comply with a World Trade Organization ruling that it correct its taxation scheme for Philippine-made cigarettes before May 15 this year.

    Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal said a team will be sent to Thailand to verify if the Southeast Asian country failed to meet the set deadline for compliance.

    According to the WTO, the Philippines sought consultation with Thailand on February 7, 2008 regarding the latter’s tax measures on cigarettes. The Philippines claimed that Thailand administers its customs valuation practices, excise tax, health tax, TV tax, VAT regime, retail licensing requirements, and import guarantees imposed upon cigarette importers “in a partial and unreasonable manner”.

    Cristobal elaborated that on July 15, 2011, the WTO ruled that Thailand was in breach of its obligations with respect to the customs and tax treatment of cigarettes produced in the Philippines.

    A month later, Thailand said it intended to implement the WTO rulings and sought a reasonable period to do it, which ended May 15, 2012.

    Article 22 of the WTO said compensation and the suspension of concessions or other obligations are temporary measures available in the event that the recommendations and rulings are not implemented within a reasonable period of time.

    Article 22 goes on to say that if a member country fails to enact WTO rulings it will “enter into negotiations with any party having invoked the ]dispute settlement procedures, with a view to developing mutually acceptable compensation."

    The WTO article also said that in considering what concessions or other obligations to suspend, the complaining party (in this case the Philippines) "should first seek to suspend concessions or other obligations with respect to the same sector(s) as that in which the panel or Appellate Body has found a violation or other nullification or impairment."

    If the complaining party considers that it is not practicable or effective to suspend concessions or other obligations with respect to the same sector(s), "it may seek to suspend concessions or other obligations in other sectors under the same agreement."

    It was reported that the dispute significantly contributed to the 20 percent decline in exports of the Philippine tobacco industry in 2009 alone.

    "We are vigilant on our tobacco case against Thailand," concluded Cristobal.

    gmanetwork.com

  19. #19
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    PH presses Thailand on cigarettes dispute
    01/30/2013

    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine government is pushing for the resolution of its trade complaint against Thailand over cigarettes.

    The Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the World Trade Organization (WTO) said it raised concerns regarding the issues in its dispute with Thailand during the WTO Settlement Body (DSB) meeting.

    The Philippines had filed a complaint against Thailand at the WTO over the latter's imposition of unfair taxes on Philippine-made cigarettes. The WTO sided with the Philippines in 2010, and the two countries were supposed to have reached an agreement in 2011.

    The statement said Thailand expressed its readiness to continue discussions on the Philippines’ remaining concerns.

    "The Philippines welcomed Thailand’s readiness for continued bilateral discussions at the appropriate level. The Philippines however noted that while there was preference to resolve the dispute by means other than continued litigation, further progress was expected in the coming month," it said.

    Meanwhile, the Philippines reported to the WTO DSB that it has complied with the recommendations and rulings on taxes on distilled spirits.

    This after the sin tax reform law took effect on January 1, 2013.

    The new tax system adopts a uniform tax that applies equally to all distilled spirits. It eliminates the system of taxation found to be discriminatory by the WTO panel and the appellate body.

    "Our compliance with this WTO ruling is a living testament of our desire to balance legitimate domestic objectives and the concerns of our foreign investors. It is also a concrete manifestation that President Aquino’s good governance thrust applies not only within our borders, but also in our adherence to our international commitments," Ambassador Esteban B. Conejos, Jr., the Philippines’ Permanent Representative to the WTO, said.

    The United States and European Union delegates welcomed this development.

    A US delegate said it was very pleased at the Philippines' commitment to implementing the DSB's ruling and recommendations.

    The EU delegate said it is analyzing the implementing rules, and may need to seek clarifications on their practical functioning.

    abs-cbnnews.com

  20. #20
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    Cigarette trade dispute ruling having further airing by WTO dispute body
    March 26, 2013

    The World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) was due to discuss today the status of Thailand’s compliance with the agency’s ruling that it should implement tax reforms in respect of imported cigarettes.

    The ruling came about following a complaint filed by the Philippines; and the Philippine government has requested a meeting with representatives from Thailand to resolve its remaining concerns over the matter.

    A meeting notice posted on the WTO’s website showed that the customs and fiscal measures of Thailand in respect of cigarettes imported from the Philippines would be among the items discussed by the DSB today.

    tobaccoreporter.com

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    Thailand Tobacco eyes expansion abroad

    BANGKOK, April 19 – Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) has been encouraged to expand its markets overseas including western countries, Deputy Finance Minister Tanusak Lek-uthai said today.

    In his speech on the state agency’s 75th anniversary, he said the tobacco enterprise delivered Bt8.59 billion to Thailand’s state coffers last year – the largest contributor among state enterprises under the Finance Ministry’s supervision.

    Its sales revenues last year were Bt70 billion, a slight increase from Bt69.8 billion in 2011.

    TTM’s market share in Thailand is 33 per cent while the remainder are imported cigarettes at 12 per cent, smuggled cigarettes at 10 per cent and self-rolled cigarettes at 45 per cent.

    Mr Tanusak said the Finance Ministry supports TTM’s penetration into overseas markets either as sole or joint manufacturer.

    Krong Thip Premium, one of TTM’s top brands, has high potential for distribution in the West, he said, adding that the monopoly should also expand its dealer network in Southeast Asia to boost sales.

    Managing Director Torsak Chotimongkol said TTM will open two new manufacturing plants with advanced technology with to emphasise tobacco growing development to boost planters’ earnings.

    An expansion of locally-produced cigarettes will stem the growth of imported smoking products, he said.

    pattayamail.com

  22. #22
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    DTI may demand compensation after Thailand drags feet on WTO tobacco tax ruling
    Ben Arnold O. De Vera
    October 21, 2013



    MANILA - The World Trade Organization (WTO) tomorrow will discuss Thailand's failure to comply with a ruling that found taxes it slapped on Philippine tobacco exports were unfair.

    Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. last week told reporters that the Philippine government gave Thailand until next month to answer a set of "confidential" questions about its compliance to the WTO ruling issued in June 2011.

    To recall, the WTO ruled that Bangkok's taxes on tobacco imports were discriminatory and violated global trading rules. The Philippines unit of Philip Morris is the biggest exporter of cigarettes to Thailand.

    Thailand’s compliance is on the agenda of the next WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) meeting to be held on October 22.

    Since the WTO ruled against it, Thailand has adopted a royal decree abolishing the value-added tax (VAT) exemption enjoyed by resellers of locally made cigarettes, making them at par with imports, which were not VAT-exempt.

    The Philippine WTO mission however said the Thai Customs’ Board of Appeals ruling on certain customs valuation entries of imported tobacco from 2002 to 2003 was “inconsistent” with WTO rules.

    “Thailand's reference to additional guidance from its Revenue Department concerning amended VAT rules also raises questions of WTO-consistency,” the Philippine WTO mission said last January.

    Despite informal consultations between Philippine and Thai trade officials held in Bangkok last May, DTI last July insisted that Thailand was dragging its feet on compliance.

    For its part, the Thai WTO delegation acknowledged having received "a further set of questions" from its Philippine counterpart.

    "Thailand is in the process of preparing answers to those questions. Thailand hopes that this process of the informal exchange of information will enable the parties to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome to this dispute,” the Thai WTO delegation said in an October 10 status report submitted to the DSB.

    If the Philippines deems Thailand’s response as noncompliant, Manila would drag Bangkok into compliance proceedings leading to compensation, Cristobal said.

    Compensation may be obtained when an “implementing member does not achieve full compliance by the end of the reasonable period of time” to comply, according to the WTO.

    In the case of Thailand, the reasonable period of time to comply with the WTO ruling lapsed in October last year.

    Compensation “does not mean monetary payment; rather, the respondent is supposed to offer a benefit, for example a tariff reduction, which is equivalent to the benefit which the respondent has nullified or impaired by applying its measure,” the WTO said.

    interaksyon.com

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