Philippines - Thai cigarette import rules..


November 11, 2008 - In its request to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) 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. Currently, these basic requirements are not fulfilled because the playing field on which imported and domestic cigarettes compete is uneven," a country representative said in a statement.

In 2008 profits from state-owned Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) that dominates the Thai market, are expected to fall more than half to just THB two billion (EUR 41.5 million) per year within five years. This is due to competition from foreign producers and declines in cigarette smoking. The market share for foreign brands had increased by around 1 percent per year over the past several years to around 25 percent at present. Sales last year totalled 30.9 billion cigarettes. which posted 2007 net profits of 4.5 billion baht, produces the market-leading Krong Thip brand, and enjoys significant tax advantages over foreign imports. Sales last year totalled 30.9 billion cigarettes.(Profits for Thailand Tobacco Monopoly expected to fall, Tobacco Journal International, 3/17/2008.)

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.

Reference: RP seeks WTO probe of Thai cigarette import rules, Reuters, 10/22/2008.

Some other Thailand news briefs: Thailand - cigarette and liquor prices are expected to rise once new measures for calculating excise taxes take effect..; Congratulations.. Thailand Joins Developed World With Total Ban On Smoking..; Discouraging Tobacco Use - Horrific Images on the Packaging..

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