The new Customs Act B.E 2560 (2017) was published in the Royal Gazette on 17 May 2017 and will take effect on 13 November 2017. It is the culmination of eight years of negotiations and deliberations, against the backdrop of massive political changes. The implementation and enforcement of the new Act will be the biggest development in Thailand’s customs environment since the first customs law was introduced in B.E. 2469 (1926).
Despite having undergone several updates, certain aspects of the current Act of 1926 have posed difficulties for importers, exporters, business operators and even the Customs authority. For example, many of the criminal provisions are onerous, create prosecution incentives and shift the burden of proof to the accused. Penalties are significantly out of proportion to the alleged wrongdoing. The current Act also lacks transparency, for example, there is little clarity in respect to the post-clearance audit and appeal process.
The new Act of 2017 contains some welcomed changes for the business community.