According to widespread reports in the Thai media, the Thai government has backed a Finance Ministry proposal for a 5% increase in excise tax on whisky and brandy, along with a 30% cut in the tax rate on white spirits.

The cut on excise tax for white spirits and local fermented rice wine is aimed at assisting small-scale local producers of white spirits. It is expected to come into effect next week. But to compensate for decreased tax revenues from white spirits, the government is to increase the tax on brandy from Bt190 per litre to Bt240, while the tax on whisky will go up from 45% to 50%.

While the move was welcomed by the Thai-based Traditional Fermented Liquor Producers Association as a move in the right direction, it represents a blow to whisky and Cognac exporters to Thailand. Only recently, groups such as the Scotch Whisky Association have been lobbying for reform of an excise system which they believe is overly discriminatory against imported brands.