BANGKOK, 5 July 2018 (NNT) - Thailand's Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) has confirmed that it is strictly controlling the country’s coconut imports, as domestic farmers face a price slump.

DFT Director-General, Adul Chotinisakon, revealed that, under the current World Trade Organization open market agreement, the country imposes a 20% tariff on imports within its quota of 2,317 metric tons and 54% for any imports in excess. The majority of coconut imports are therefore conducted through the tax-free ASEAN Free Trade Area. Businesses must be registered with the DFT and are only allowed to import coconuts for the purpose of oil processing and domestic use.

He said that both agreements stipulate fixed import periods of January to May and September to December. As a result, the amount of coconut imported this past May was around 168,000 metric tons, down from 178,000 recorded in the same period last year.

However, farmers in the provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani and Chumphon have complained of more coconuts being smuggled into the country, blaming the price slump on these illegal imports.

The DFT will therefore increase the stringency of customs clearance inspections and rigorously vet the import plans of each trader. It may also reconsider narrowing the import periods of each year. However, the measures require careful consideration, as Thailand does not produce enough coconut to satisfy domestic demand.

National News Bureau Of Thailand | Dept of Foreign Trade closely monitoring coconut imports amidst domestic price slump