Thailand Prepares for Bioethanol Tax Exemption to Produce Environmentally Friendly Plastic

The Excise Department of Thailand has prepared for bioethanol tax exemption which reportedly will support the production of environmentally friendly bioplastics. At the same time, the Department is ready for law amendment to enable entrepreneurs to use ethanol.

Mr. Kriengkrai Phatthanaporn, Deputy Director-General of the Excise Department of Thailand, addressed that, according to The Department’s administration strategy proposed this year by Mr. Ekniti Nitithanprapas, Director General of the Excise Department, to drive the Thai economy with excise taxes that focus on ESG (Environment, Society, Governance), the first tax the Department would work for concerned the bioethanol one as it is a raw material for bio-ethylene production which results in bioplastic pellets to create environmentally friendly materials.

At present, the Excise Department’s Office of Policy Planning is working on design thinking with ethanol manufacturers as well as ethylene factories in Thailand which are the major ethanol users. Resolution was gained already, so it will later be proposed to the Executive Board of Bioeconomy Development, Circular Economy and Green Economy, known as BCG Board, chaired by the Prime Minister.

“Currently, a law is stipulating that the ethanol produced must only be used for fuel production. Therefore, the government must amend the law and open up opportunities for entrepreneurs to use ethanol for other purposes, namely producing bio-ethanol as it is a precursor in the production of bioplastic pellets. Ethylene is typically produced from petrochemicals, the production process of which tends to release carbon dioxide, but, in the case of ethanol, carbon dioxide can be reduced or almost none will be created at all,” said Mr. Kriengkrai.

Ethanol is produced from sugar, sugarcane or cassava. Therefore, it is environmentally friendly throughout the line of production. The Thai government can monitor and control the process of growing sugarcane, cassava, using bio-fertilizers, avoiding chemical fertilizers and burning of crops for harvesting.

In terms of ethanol, the Excise Department is currently exempting taxes for the one that is already used in fuel production. There is an idea that if it is used in the production of bioplastics, tax exemption will also be applied. Nowadays, 24 ethanol plants in Thailand can only be used for fuel blending with ethanol. However, the amount of ethanol produced in the process is overwhelming in the market because the manufacturers cannot use it for any other purposes.

The Excise Department is planning for a tax exemption for ethanol produced as bio-ethanol, bio-ethylene and bioplastics derived from ethanol. In other words, the exemption will belong to the entire product line from the start to the end. In doing so, entrepreneurs will not suffer from tax burdens, which will be beneficial for industries and reduced capital costs, resulting in value for money bioplastic products.

Nonetheless, to produce bioethanol, a new ethanol plant should be established. The issue is being proposed to the finance minister of Thailand and is expecting the BCG Board to sign before forwarding it to the Thai cabinet. The board will select the topics that can be proposed during the interim government. It is expected that the plan will be realized within 2-3 years.

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