Thai Sugar Industry Assesses Impact of Sugar Tax

Upon assessing the impact of the sugar tax measure, which came into effect on September 16, the cane and sugar industry believes that it will not greatly affect the overall demand of the beverage industry and urges the government to promote appropriate sugar intake in tandem with regular exercise as a more sustainable solution.

Sirivuth Siamphakdee, President of the Thai Sugar Millers Corporation’s public relations working group (TSMC), revealed that after the sugar tax was imposed on September 16, any beverages with sugar contexts over the limits would carry an extra tax burden in addition to the current 20% excise tax of their CIF values. The tax structure is divided into six levels. The sugar content of 0-6 grams/100 ml. will incur no tax. A tax of 0.10 baht/liter is imposed on drinks with over 6-8 grams of sugar per 100 ml, 0.30 baht/liter for 8-10 grams/100ml, 0.50 baht/liter for 10-14 grams/ml., 1 baht/liter for 14-18 grams/ml., and 1 baht/liter for sugar contents of over 18 grams per ml. Entrepreneurs in the beverage industry have been given two years to adjust before the actual tax collection begins on October 1, 2019.

The cane and sugar industry has assessed that the sugar tax will not significantly affect the demand for sugar in the beverage industry. However, sugar producers have expressed concern that the imposition of this tax may spur misunderstanding that any sugary drink is harmful to health and may lead to diseases, resulting in a drastic decline in sugar consumption and a trend of dietary imbalance as the human body also needs sugar in daily activities.

Consequently, during this two-year window, the governmental and private sectors need to raise awareness of the appropriate daily intake of sugar to enable consumers to make informed consumption choices as well as promote physical exercise in conjunction, which will create positive impact and help solve health problems more sustainably. To promote balanced consumption of sugar, the cane and sugar industry is initiating “Right Sweetness for Happy Life” Project, expected to be launched soon.

“Our stance is that sugar is an energy-giving nutrient essential to the body and should be consumed in appropriate quantities in conjunction with regular physical exercise. The cane and sugar industry has urged governmental agencies intensify their efforts to communicate accurate information on sugar consumption to the public and foster correct understanding, starting now until the beginning of the tax implementation in 2019. If no initiative is taken during this period, there may be negative long-term impact, resulting in the failure of the tax measure to curb or even a rise in sugar consumption,” added Sirivuth.

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