On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, confirmation of the formal enactment of Thailand’s new Customs Act B.E. 2560 (2017) was published in the Royal Gazette, the official public journal in which new laws are announced. The Act, which repeals the outdated and controversial Customs Act B.E. 2469 (1926) and its prior amendments, comes into effect 180 days from publication, and represents the culmination of many years of drafts, consultations, and sometimes contentious debate.
For example, many of the criminal provisions of the Customs Act of 1926 were not only onerous, but created prosecution incentives, shifted burdens of proof to an accused, and included penalties significantly out of proportion to the alleged wrongdoing. Similarly troubling was the former Act’s lack of clarity in the post-clearance audit and appeal process. The new Act deals substantially with many of these issues and offers relief to importers subject to the historically difficult customs environment.
Representative examples of key amendments to the new Customs Act include:
The Customs Act of 2017 represents a significant step forward in introducing improvements in fairness and clarity for those involved in the customs clearance process in Thailand—improvements that will benefit not only business operators and importers, but the Thai government itself.