Thailand urges WTO to tackle Covid-19 barriers

21-Oct-2021 Intellasia | BangkokPost | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Thailand has urged World Trade Organisation (WTO) members to step up tackling trade barriers and provide trade facilitation for essential products to cope with Covid-19 such as vaccine production to prevent further impact on global trade expansion.

Pimchanok Pitfield, ambassador and permanent representative of Thailand to the WTO and the World Intellectual Property Organisation, said the WTO’s latest study on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on global trade has shown that the major risk factors for global trade expansion were the bottleneck from trade barriers including export limit measures, various registration and permit procedures.

Such barriers have affected the global production and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, resulting in inequality in vaccine access and trade and economic recovery in many countries as the import duty on vaccine production remains extremely high, especially in developing countries, including Thailand.

According to Ms Pimchanok, there are still several major bottlenecks from the export limit of vaccines and raw materials.

For example, some countries do not allow vaccine raw materials to pass green channels, while some still require vaccine samples sent for testing abroad to pass customs clearance as general products, while drug registration and licence application takes a long time for selling admission and post-approval changes in many countries, she said.

“The review to reduce the import duty rate and international cooperation is necessary to resolve such bottlenecks to promote global trade recovery,” Ms Pimchanok said.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, WTO members have implemented 384 trade measures related to Covid-19, comprising 248 trade facilitation measures, covering a total trade value of $291.3 billion, and 136 trade restriction measures with a trade volume of $205 billion.

The WTO expects global trade to grow by 10.8 percent in 2021 and by 4.7 percent in 2022, but the growth will depend on vaccine factors.

Currently, the import duties on products related to the Covid-19 vaccine production worldwide, including Thailand, remain relatively high.

Some 23 countries were found to collect hefty import duties, particularly for Iran (at the rate of 11.9%), Cuba (at 10.3%), Argentina (at 9.6%), Kazakhstan (at 8.9%) and India (8.5%).

Thailand has an average import tax rate on products related to the Covid-19 vaccine production at 6.4%, the seventh-highest among 27 vaccine-producing countries.


Category: Thailand

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