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Thai Brewers fear end to Import Tax in 2010

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The Thai brewing industry is concerned that after the abolition of import beer tax by the Asean Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) in 2010, the domestic market will be flooded by imported beers. Prin Malakul, corporate affairs director of Thai Asia Pacific Brewery Co, the local producer of Heineken beer, said Thai beer producers might not be seriously aware of the zero import tariff on beer under AFTA next year. Large international brewers such as Carlsberg, Budweiser or Tsingtao with production in countries such as Laos, Vietnam and China, will probably flood the Thai beer market. The production in these low-wage countries would have very low production costs and would threaten local beers, priced much higher largely due to huge tax burdens.
Earlier this month – in contrast – local brewers had to face the raise in excise tax on beer, whisky and brandy by between 7% and 9%. But, in fact, upper- and lower-end beer brands face a tax hike of 26.8% due to the complexity of the tax structure. The excise tax on beer currently is 60%, or 4.17 baht per degree of alcohol. Major beer producers, particularly Boonrawd Brewery (Singha Beer), have attacked the tax hike as unfair, apparently favouring white spirits, whose excise tax is 50%, or 0.75 baht per degree of alcohol. Additionally, at the moment local producers cannot promote or advertise their beers publicly due to strict Public Health Ministry regulations.

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Friday, November 24, 10:27 pm

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