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Alcohol No1 problem for Thailand-EU trade talks

Christian Fernsby |
Thailand is preparing to make a decision on opening talks towards a Thai EU free trade pact.

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However, one of the concerns is the fear that Thai consumers may overindulge when presented with zero-rated tariffs on a huge range of European alcohol beverages.

Thai officials at the Commerce Ministry in Bangkok are getting ready to wind down a nationwide consultation process which began following an invitation from the European Union to Thailand to recommence talks.

The Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Auramon Supthaweethum, indicated in press reports on Monday that some concerns had evolved from the consultations.

These were primarily centred on fears that an open trading relationship with the European Union might see Thailand awash with a broader and lower-priced range of high-quality alcoholic beverages including wines, spirits and beers.

The creation of a free trade pact would allow a range of luxury food and alcoholic products zero-tariff access to the kingdom which may prove tempting for Thai consumers.

Some groups who made submissions highlighted this as a potential health concern as well as a threat to local industries.

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