In a Fight to Curb Obesity Thailand Doubles the Tax on Sugary Drinks
Thailand has announced that taxes on sugary drinks will double as of October 1st. The tax will be placed on beverages containing 10 to 14 grams of sugar.
The Excise Department said tax on sugary drinks tax will not be passed on to consumers despite the higher cost of production.
Nattakorn Utensut, the department’s spokesman, said most producers of sweet beverages have not reduced the sugar content out of fear of losing customers.
Instead they have just launched new, less-sweet versions of their drinks.
The new tax will boost the overall tax revenue to Bt4.5 billion annually.
Taxes on sugary drinks will also be doubled every two years. For instance, from October 1, 2021, beverages containing 10g to 14g of sugar will be taxed Bt3 per 100ml before rising to Bt5 in 2023.
This progressive increase in tax rate is expected to force manufacturers to cut down on the amount of sugar in their beverages.
Though the tax was first imposed in October 2017, only one manufacturer reduced the sugar content in its products.
Others only responded by launching new, less-sweet products.
Nattakorn said most people are still not aware of the health risks associated with sugary drinks.
Saying that only two groups of people are cautious about consuming beverages with high sugar content.
Those below 30 in age and those over 60. People of working age still prefer sugary drinks, he said.
He added that now more producers have started specifying the sugar content.