Thailand is looking to revise its free-trade agreement with China to offer more protection to local manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVS).
Under the current Thailand-China free trade agreement (FTA), Chinese EVs will not be levied import tariffs next year, along with more than 700 other products.
Reducing EV import duties from 20% at present to 0% next year would prevent the development of a local EV industry, Thai customs director general Kulit Sombatsiri told local reporters.
Sombatsiri added, when Thailand and China began FTA talks back in 2003, there was no mention of EVs and these products later fell into the 'others' category which were scheduled eventually to not be levied import duty.
China is the largest manufacturer of EVs in the world and new minimum domestic sales quotas announced last week means its economies of scale will dwarf those of most, if not all, countries in this sector.
The Thai government now wants EVs to have their own customs category, the import duty rate reset and new safety standards established.
A meeting chaired by minister's office vice minister Kobsak Phutrakul is scheduled to take place next week to review the country's EV policies.
Thai import duty on fully assembled vehicles can be as high as 80% under World Trade Organisation MFN (most favoured nation) regulations but they can be significantly lower under individual bilateral FTAs.