November 20 ~ 21, 2014, the Excise Department of Thailand conducted the Director-General Meeting of ASEAN Member Countries on Automobile Taxation on 20 Nov, and the Thai Excise Tax Law Reform Forum on the following day. More than two hundred participants attended, including the representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Excise Department, Customs Department from the 7 ASEAN member countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Republic of the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), members of the automotive industry, research and consultancy institute of Thammasat University, media, and many others.
 
 
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ARTICLE 1
The Director-General Meeting of Asean Member Countries on Automobile taxation & Thai excise tax law reform forum

ARTICLE 2
The 17th Honda Eco Mileage
Challenge in Thailand

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Mr. Sun Vithespongse, the Secretary to the Minister of Finance, made this opening remark, “The Automotive industry has been contributing to the development of our countries’ economies, however, the industry is also generating CO2 and causing global warming. In Thailand, through the implementation of the automobile new excise tax based on CO2 emission, automakers are encouraged to promote green and environmental friendly technologies to the industry. To further promote AEC, it is also important for ASEAN countries to work toward the establishment of common rules on non-tariff barriers (NTB)”. Mr. Sun hoped that this meeting will be able to provide a forum for the members to share their views and opinions on how to cooperate on automobile taxation in the future.

Following Mr. Sun’s opening remarks, Mr. Yoshihiro Yano, Vice President for International Affairs, Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JAMA), gave a speech on Public-Private Joints Efforts for Low Carbon Emissions in Road Transport in Japan. Together with him were Ms. Sumon Sumetchoengprachya, an expert from Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), who shared a speech on “Climate Change: Impacts and Mitigation Actions”, and Mr. John Philip Ernst, an expert from Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), who shared a speech on “Managing Transportation Climate Change Impacts”.

In the afternoon panel, Mr. Vallop Tiasiri, representative from Thailand Automotive Industry, Mr. Matt Hobbs from General Motors, Mrs. Piengjai Keawsuwan, President of AAF, and Mr. Nutthakorn Utensute, Executive Director of Tax Planning Bureau, Excise Department of Thailand., also shared their views on automobile taxation in ASEAN and the CO2 taxation system of Thailand.

According to Mr. Yoshihiro Yano, auto manufacturers in Japan have been introducing numerous technologies to increase engine efficiency, boost related precision control technology, improve powertrain systems, reduce aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance, and reduce vehicle weight. As a result, the average vehicle fuel efficiency in Japan has increased yearly. On top of that, the Japanese government’s tax incentives and purchasing subsidies programs have boosted the sales of next-generation vehicles by more than 20% in Japan’s new vehicle market segment. He also highlighted the importance of the integrated approach on CO2 reduction in road transport through the cooperation within auto manufacturers, government, fuel and energy suppliers, and vehicle users.

For the details of JAMA’s presentation, please click here.

In response to JAMA’s presentation on CO2 reduction in road transport, Ms. Sumon Sumetchoengprachya (TGO) and Mr. John Ernst (GIZ) proposed an alternative solution: to implement an excise-type tax on road transport. According to GIZ (based on the source of EDGAR 4.21 ), transportation has contributed 23% of CO2 in the world and is still on the rise. Implementing an excise tax could be an effective way of at getting consumers to buy more efficient vehicles, which can reduce global greenhouse gases. However, in the long run, additional solutions will be needed.

During the panel discussion in the afternoon, speakers debated on issues surrounding the automobile taxation – CO2 emission based tax policy that will be implemented from 1st Jan 2016 by the Thai government. A similar CO2 emission based taxation was also recommended to other members. According to the speakers, as ASEAN was working on the establishment of AEC by the end of 2015 to realize a single market and production base, automobile taxation uniformity across ASEAN will further enhance the competitiveness of the region.

In response to this, Mr. Nutthakorn Utensute, Executive Director of Tax Planning Bureau, Excise Department of Thailand; pointed out that the new automobile tax structure was less complicated compared to the current tax structure in Thailand. This means that the new tax structure was simpler and more transparent. Moreover, the tax rate and incentive would be based on the performance of CO2 emissions, which would provide more fairness to auto manufacturers. Thailand’s new tax structure may provide a good example to other members for consideration. According to Mr.Nutthakorn, the integrated automobile excise tax structure based on CO2 emission should be introduced in ASEAN. This will further promote the competitiveness of ASEAN automotive industry as a whole.

On November 21, Dr. Nathanan Junprateepchai, the representative from the Excise Department of Thailand, presented the reformation of Thailand’s excise tax law system. The reformation would benefit Thailand’s excise tax law system to be more efficient and effective. It would also be enforced in the ASEAN context.

To pave the way to reform the new tax calculation structure, the excise department has proposed to amend several laws on alcohol, tobacco and playing cards in order to restructure the excise tax on luxury goods and services relating to the environment.

Dr. Nathanan also pointed out that the new excise tax calculation methodology should be based on retail prices, as the definition of current ex-factory price might not be clear. This proposal would also improve the transparency of the tax structure and be aligned with global standards. The proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance. Thereafter, it would be sent to the Parliament for approval in 2015.

The forum of ASEAN member countries on automobile taxation based on CO2 emissions has drawn a high degree of attention from members. Pertaining to its future plan, Thailand will consult ASEAN Secretariat and the results would be shared among members.
1EDGAR 4.2: The Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research 4.2 version. EDGAR is a joint project of the European Commission JRC Joint Research Centre and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Please refer http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
 

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