Import & Export from/to Thailand

Category: Import (Page 1 of 2)

Thailand – Recent TFDA updates

Due to the increased hygiene precautions from the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disposable medical face masks are facing severe shortages in Thailand. The Thai government has enacted several regulations to try to abate the shortage. The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has relaxed some regulations on the importation and production of these goods. In addition, the Department of Internal Trade of the Ministry of Commerce has acted to control the supply by setting up maximum allowable purchase price of domestic and imported face masks. Other regulations related to these products have been modified to counteract shortages—examples include reclassification of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, implementation of fast-track pathways for the domestic production of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, declaration of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and disposable medical masks as controlled goods, and so on. Regulations such as these will likely continue to change periodically, so healthcare entrepreneurs should check frequently that they are compliant with the latest updates.

Thailand’s Updated Regulations on Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers and Disposable Medical Masks

There have been three notable regulations pertaining to alcohol-based hand sanitizers. First, the MOPH has retracted its 2019 reclassification of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as medical devices (Medical Device Act B.E. 2251 (2008)), instead choosing to continue to categorize it as a cosmetics product (Cosmetics Act B.E. 2558 (2015)). The MOPH’s decision to cancel the reclassification serves to alleviate the shortage of alcohol-based hand sanitizers because the more stringent controls of medical devices would cause further delays in restocking. The second regulation enforces a minimum alcohol concentration of 65% w/w in alcohol-based hand sanitizers in order to gain registration as a controlled cosmetic. Finally, the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also relaxed regulations to allow domestic pharmaceutical manufacturers, traditional drug manufacturers, and medical device manufacturers to produce and sell alcohol-based sanitizer without first obtaining a cosmetics manufacturing license.

The shortage of disposable face masks is much more acute than sanitizers. Hospitals have run out due to high public demand, low production scale, and consumer hoarding. People have taken advantage of the opportunities to gain additional income by making and selling masks as an alternative to commercial grade face masks. However, these homemade, reusable masks are not classified as medical devices and therefore, cannot be advertised as personal protective equipment against COVID-19. Only disposable medical masks, which are classified as low-risk medical devices, are regulated. Imported masks require product registration with the Thai FDA. Because of the pandemic, the Medical Device Control Division has agreed to facilitate all registration of disposable medical masks.

Price Controls

As both alcohol-based sanitizer and disposable medical masks are currently in high demand, the Thai Central Committee on Prices of Goods and Services (CCP) has published price controls for these goods. The manufacturer, importer, and distributor of alcohol-based hand sanitizer are required to give the CCP their pricing details and may not increase the price without CCP’s permission. For domestically manufactured disposable medical masks, the retail price must not exceed THB 2.50 (approx. USD 0.08) per mask. Currently, the price of imported masks has not been fixed, and the CCP only requires that the importer, distributor, and retailer must not mark up the price more than 10%, 10%, or 23%, respectively. Because only domestic masks are regulated with a fixed price (and because some traders do not obey the law in such a high demand market), the price of masks in the Thai market continues to rise.

Ban on trans fats comes into force on January 9, 2019


A vendor removes a (legal) deep-fried chicken from his wok. The ban on ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ has taken effect smoothly, with praise from all parties. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya, Bangkok Post)

Thailand’s ban on artificial trans fats came into effect January 9, 2019, making the country the first in Asean to ban the production, import and sale of partially hydrogenated oils, as well as any food that contains them, said the Public Health Ministry.

Derived from plants through the process of hydrogenation, trans fats have been widely used since the 1950s to fry fast foods. Trans fats are also found in margarine and snacks.

Artificial trans fats have been implicated in health problems, such as heart attacks and other cardiovascular conditions.

“The ban [on artificial trans fats] is aimed primarily at reducing the risk of them causing heart disease and other conditions through food consumption,” he said.

The move has garnered praise from World Health Organisation, according to Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn, Minister of Public Health.

“The WHO praised the government’s political will, as well as the inclusive process that it applied to prepare for the ban,” he said.

“Instead of telling stakeholders what to do, the ministry listened to to all stakeholders and gave them the opportunity to prepare for the transition.”

Dr Piyasakol said the WHO also praised the ministry for launching an effective public campaign to urge the private sector to take part in the government’s bid to ban trans fats, and communicate its importance…

The Public Health Ministry on July 13 published an announcement of the ban in the Royal Gazette. The ban came into effect 180 days from the publication date, which was Wednesday.

Over the past three months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working with education institutions and the food industry to help ensure a smooth transition, he said.

Food and beverage produces have already recalled products containing trans fats before the ban took effect, said Dr Tharet Karatnaiyarawiwong, secretary-general of the FDA.

As of Wednesday, food importers are required to issue a certificate assuring that their products are free of the prohibited trans fats, he said.

Source: Bangkok Post – https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1608342/ban-on-trans-fats-comes-into-force

Thailand Import and Export Index for Jan – Mar 2016

Exports

Thailand’s overall export value slightly increased by 0.90% or USD479mil in Q1 2016 at USD53,829mil comparing to Q1 2015 at USD53,351mil. The main contribution for the increase comes from Switzerland which jumped from USD536mil to USD1,644mil while the main contribution for the decrease comes from China by USD356mil and Cambodia by USD238.

Thailand Export Index by country for Q1 2016

Thailand Export Index by country for Q1 2016

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Thailand Consumer Goods Import Index as of January 2016

Electrical household appliances remains the highest at USD576.81mil which increases by 21.23% from the previous month. The second highest imported consumer good group including fruits, vegetables, fruit and vegetable preparations went up to USD216.13mil which is 15.61% higher than the previous month. For the third highest group, the value of imported medicinal and pharmaceutical products was at USD211.37 which is dropped by 3.69% comparing to the previous month.

Consumer Goods Import Index as of Jan 2016 P1

Consumer Goods Import Index as of Jan 2016 P2

While the total value of imported consumer goods went down in Jan 2106, it actually follows the same trend as for Jan 2015 which we can see the recovery by the end of the quarter.

Source: Ministry of Commerce (Thailand)

Thailand BOI Sponsored Seminar “Australian Company Investment to Thailand” in Perth

The Thailand Board of Investment is currently promoting foreign investment, especially by Australian manufacturing companies looking to expand their business into S.E Asia, with a combined domestic market of over 600 million people, and the AEC commencing in 2015.

Thailand is in an ideal location as a leading economy in the region and gateway into China, India, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Come and hear what local Australian/Thai business people have to say about “doing business in Thailand” and what the BOI has to offer as incentives to FDI’s. BOI will be represented by one of its most senior executives from the Thai government in Bangkok.

A half day seminar will be held at DAFWA theatrette South Perth for the agribusiness sector and Australian companies looking to expand into Thailand and the ASEAN region.

Event venue: DAFWA Theatrette, Baron-Hay Court, South Perth

Date: 22nd February 2016

Time: 08:45 AM – 12:30 PM
For further information about this event, contact Peter Cook AgKnowledge (Perth) on (+61) 8 9291 8111 or (+61) 417 953 957 or cooke@iinet.net.au

Darren McCoy – VC Group (Sydney) on (+61) 407 463 488 or Email: darren.mccoy@vcgroup.com.au

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