Finance Ministry gets tobacco industry ready for AEC integration

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SURAT THANI, 1 March 2013 The Finance Ministry continues to prompt the country for the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015, with the tobacco industry as the latest to get formal preparation. 

Permanent Secretary for Finance Areepong Bhoocha-oom, on Thursday, chaired the opening of a seminar on tobacco, designed to help the industry ready for the AEC integration.

Mr. Areepong said the seminar is also hoped to elevate and boost cooperation between customs and excise duty offices within Southeast Asia, in the form of the Excise Working Group or as a part of the annual ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Customs.

According to the Permanent Secretary for Finance, the tobacco industry earns around 59 billion baht for Thailand each year.

He added it is expected that more tobacco will be smuggled into Thailand and there will be an increase in illicit trade of tobacco after AEC emerges in 2015.

Therefore, more serious discussions should be made among ASEAN member countries to shed lights on how to prevent such problems and other issues, such as the control of products subject to excise tax collection and the tax rates within ASEAN.