Outline of the system
According to Section 5 of the Export and Import Act B.E.2522 (1979), the Minister of Commerce with the approval of the Cabinet has the authority to publish notifications in the Government Gazette to ban, to require for the permission, to prescribe any categories / kinds / qualities / standards / quantities / brands / origins / special fees, to require a certificate of origin / certificate of origin quality / other certificates pursuant to international conventions or trade practices, etc., of any import and export goods, in any cases where it is necessary, for economic stability, public health, national security, peace and order, good morals or any other interests of the state. At present, 22 items of agricultural products subject to tariff rate quota (TRQs) must apply for import certificate regarding with the above-mentioned Act.
Currently, under the Export and Import Act B.E.2522 (1979), import certification are required in case of imports of agricultural products under tariff rate quota (TRQs) including (1) Milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matters (including flavoured milk) (2) Milk and cream, concentrated or containing added sugar or other sweetening matter, in powder, granules or other solid forms, of a fat content, by weight, not exceeding 1.5% (3) Potatoes, fresh or chilled (4) Onion, fresh, chilled, dried, whole, cut, sliced, broken or in powder, but not further prepared, mixed (5) Garlic, fresh or chilled, whether or not in powder (6) Coconut, fresh or dried, whether or not chilled or peeled including desiccated (7) Coffee, whether or not roasted or decafinated, coffee husks and skins; coffee substitutes containing any portion of coffee (8) Tea (9) Pepper, dried, whether or not crushed or ground (10) Maize for feedstuff Maize (corn for animal feed (11) Rice (including paddy, broken) (12) Soya beans, whether or not broken (13) Copra (14) Onion seeds (15) Soya bean oil and its fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified (16) Palm oil and its fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified (17) Coconut oil and its fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified (18) Cane or beet sugar and chemically pure sucrose in solid form (19) Instant coffee and other extracts, essences and concentrated, of coffee, and preparations with a basis of these extracts, essences or concentrates or with a basis of coffee (20) Soya bean cake Oil cake and other solid residue resulting from extraction of soya-bean oil, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets (21) dried Longans (22) Raw silk
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Products subject to tariff rate quota (TRQs) committed under the WTO Agriculture Agreement in order to protect local farmers and domestic industries to secure local farmers' income and to sustain domestic price.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
See Answers 6.1-6.11.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
Thailand has no discriminatory policy regarding the country of origin of the imported commodities. The import certificate system is applied to goods originating in and coming from all countries. The sources of supply are left entirely to importers.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The import certificate system is a statutory requirement of the Export and Import Act B.E.2522 (1979) relating to Notifications of the Ministry of Commerce as follows:
- Notification of the Ministry of Commerce (No.111) B.E.2539 on the importation of goods dated 26 January.
- Notification of the Ministry of Commerce (No.115) B.E.2539 on the importation of goods dated 2 October.
- Notification of the Ministry of Commerce (No.117) B.E.2539 on the importation of goods dated 12 November.
- Notification of the Ministry of Commerce (No.143) B.E.2546 on the importation of goods dated 23 April.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
The legislation leaves the designation of products to be certified to administrative discretion under well-defined criteria.
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
All import controlled measures must be approved by the Cabinet before imposing the regulations.
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Under the automatic import certificate system, any person, firm or juristic person duly registered are eligible to apply for the certificate. Furthermore, state enterprises may apply for the certificate in some cases.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
What information is required in applications?
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
Documentation and other requirements for application of import certificate are:
- Bill of Lading: B/L;
- Certificate of Origin: C/O.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
There is no charge for an import certificate application.
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
The deposit or advance payment in form of a bank guarantee, associated with the issue of licence exists only in cases of temporary import of used vehicles.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
In general, there is no circumstance other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria under import-controlled regulations.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
The reason for any refusal will be given to the applicant.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
However, they will be given the right to appeal to the authorities concerned for reconsideration.
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
The Ministry of Commerce and/or the Director-General of the Department of Foreign Trade or authorities appointed by the Minister of Commerce are the final decision-makers.
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
At the time of actual importation, the import certificate must be presented to the customs at the port where the entry takes place.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
Apart from Applying for import certificate, there are no other administrative procedures required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
The import certificate is valid for 30 days and non-utilization of an import certificate has to cancel.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
There is no penalty for non-utilization of an import certificate. The certificate will not be issued for their next shipment, unless until the report is completed.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
An import certificate is not transferable between importers.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?
The following questions are only for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports (whether applicable globally or to a limited number of countries or whether established bilaterally or unilaterally)
Where is information on allocation and formalities for licences published? Is the overall amount published? The amount allocated to goods from each country? The maximum amount allocated to each importer? How to request any exceptions or derogations from the licensing requirement?
The information related to quota allocation is published on the Royal Thai Government Gazette's website; http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th as well as the website of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce; http://www.dft.go.th/th-th. This information includes the total amount of quota, application procedures and requirement. There is no maximum quota for each importer except rice and no quota allocation on the country basis. In addition, importers must comply with all applicable requirements, no exception or derogation provided.
Is the size of the quota determined: on yearly, six-monthly or quarterly basis? Are there cases where the size of quota is determined on a yearly basis but licences are issued for imports on a six-monthly or quarterly basis? In the latter case, is it necessary for importers to apply for a fresh licence on a six-monthly or quarterly basis?
The size of the quotas is determined on yearly basis, whereas the import certificate is issued for each imported shipment which is valid for 30 days. Importers are required to apply for certificate for every shipment imported. In the case of rice quota, the size of the quotas is determined on a yearly basis but the certificates are issued for imports on the basis of 3 period per year, which are; 1 January – 30 April, 1 May – 31 August and 1 September – 3 December. In addition the import certificate is valid for 15 days.
Are licences allocated for certain goods partly or only to domestic producers of like goods? What steps are taken to ensure that licences allocated are actually used for imports? Are unused allocations added to quotas for a succeeding period? Are names of importers to whom licences have been allocated made known to governments and export promotion bodies of exporting countries upon request? If not, for what reason? (Indicate products to which replies relate)
Import certificate will be allotted to any juristic person. In the case of rice will be allotted to juristic person that registered as importer with the Department of Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce. The importers have to apply for the certificate before an arrival of its shipment and to ensure the utilization of certificates, importers must report their importation of the product to the Department of Foreign Trade within 30 days from the date of import. However, the certificate will not be issued for their next shipment, unless until the report is completed. Additionally, there is a mechanism for the return and re-allocation of unused allocated quota in a specific period. For some products, the unused quotas will not be added to the succeeding period such as rice, potatoes and union. The name list of importers who obtained the import certificate is normally published on the Royal Thai Government Gazette's website; http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/ as well as the website of the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce; http://www.dft.go.th/th-th. Moreover, governments or export promotion bodies of exporting countries may make a formal written request for the name of importers who obtained the certificate particularly, on first come, first serve basis such as rice.
From the time of announcing the opening of quotas, as indicated in I above, what is the period of time allowed for the submission of applications for licences?
There is no certain period for advanced application of an import certificate. In general, an applicant should apply for the certificate in 1-2 weeks prior to the date of departure of shipment.
What are the minimum and maximum lengths of time for processing applications?
The import certificate could be granted in 1 day if all required documents are approved.
How much time remains, at a minimum, between the granting of licences and the date of opening of the period of importation?
The certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issue, in case of rice is valid for 15 days but not exceed the last date of importation in each period. One import certificate can be used for a single shipment only.
Is consideration of licence applications effected by a single administrative organ? Or must the application be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval? If so, which? Does the importer have to approach more than one administrative organ?
Import certificate is issued by the Department of Foreign Trade, except sugar is issued by Office of Cane and Sugar Board.
If the demand for licences cannot be fully satisfied, on what basis is the allocation to applicants made? First come, first served? Past performance? Is there a maximum amount to be allocated per applicant and if so, on what basis is it determined? What provision is made for new importers? Are applications examined simultaneously or on receipt?
The tariff quotas are allocated for each product on different basis including first come, first served, prorated. In the case of rice, the licenses are allocated on the “first come, first serve” basis and the maximum amount for each applicant is 300 tonnes.
In the case of bilateral quotas or export restraint arrangements where export permits are issued by exporting countries, are import licences also required? If so, are licences issued automatically?
In cases where imports are allocated on the basis of export permits only, how is the importing country informed of the effect given by the exporting countries to the understanding between the two countries?
Are there products for which licences are issued on condition that goods should be exported and not sold in the domestic market?