Japan asks Thailand for higher steel import quota

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Japan said it wants Thailand to increase the quota of steel imports with tariff discounts to feed its offshore automobile production.

Hisamichi Koga, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce (JCC) in Bangkok, and Masayasu Hosumi, president of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), also in Bangkok, asked Thai Industry Minister Chakramon Phasukavanich to increase the quota for Japanese steel imports to support automotive production that is expected to rise 25 percent from 2 million units this year to 2.5 million next year.

They referred to the steel import quota with tariff discounts under the Japan-Thailand Economic Partnership Agreement (JTEPA).

At present, 50-60 percent of steel imports that are used enjoy the tariff privilege.

In response, the minister told the JCC and JETRO Bangkok heads to ask the Japanese government to first fully comply with the terms under the JTEPA.

In addition, JCC and JETRO want the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to relax its inspection of steel production standards in Japan. The institute requires the annual inspection.

Chakramon said he would have the institute conduct the inspection every two years instead. The response satisfied the two Japanese organizations, he said.

The minister added that the JCC and JETRO representatives confirmed Japanese operators in Thailand are interested in increasing their investment in the country, especially in the automotive industry.