Illustrative image. (Photo: VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) has called on the government to maintain tariff on imported cars at 80 percent to protect the local auto manufacturing industry.

The call was made by FTI’s domestic carmakers who insisted that any tariff reduction will have impacts on the local automotive and parts sector.

The group urged the Thai government to intensify screening of declared prices of car imports to qualify for registration. They also wanted stringent checks to be made on the safety and quality of cars imported on the grey-market as an added requirement.

Earlier this year, the FTI forecast automobile production in Thailand will increase to nearly 2 million units by the year’s end thanks to an increase in demand. Domestic sale volume is expected to grow to 870,000-900,000 units while exports are projected to fall 3.48 percent to 1.1 million units as importers apply new rules.

In June, the Thai Ministry of Industry started construction of a national automobile and tyre testing centre in Chachoengsao province which aims to attract more investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The centre is the first of its kind in Asia.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has praised the establishment of the centre and urged local businesses to make the most of the facility to enhance the country’s competitiveness.

The centre is expected to be fully operational in 2020. It will serve as a learning centre and technology-promoting centre for businesses. The centre will allow manufacturers to apply for certification without sending their products abroad. It will also help boost investments in the rubber processing industry.–VNA