Trade facilitation and customs regulatory control : a study of express consignment operations in Thailand

  • Wunwimon Puengpradit

Student thesis: Professional Doctorate


In the contemporary international trade environment, trade facilitation and customs regulatory control are two significant requirements for both government and the business community. These requirements, however, are difficult to put into practice and have become a major challenge for customs administrations. Customs administrations are required to facilitate international trade while at the same time ensuring effective control in compliance with both national and international obligations, particularly in the light of current concerns about public health and safety and security issues. This study examines and analyses approaches for customs administrations to effectively reconcile tensions between trade facilitation and customs regulatory control. The study is based on a case study of express consignment operations at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand using multiple methods of data collection: documentation, interviews and direct observation. Four major findings from the case study are identified as the key criteria required for facilitating international trade while ensuring customs regulatory control. First, risk management is identified as a core principle of accommodating facilitation and control. Second, customs laws and regulations, customs procedures and information technology are found to be key instruments for supporting the achievement of trade facilitation and customs regulatory control. Third, comprehensive and integrated approaches to cooperation are regarded as enablers, which contribute to facilitation and control. Finally, human resource development is identified as a prerequisite to support all other elements in accommodating trade facilitation and customs regulatory control. The accommodation between trade facilitation and customs regulatory control can be achieved dependent on these key criteria being effective and consistent with international standards and guidelines. Despite the effort of the Thai Customs Department to accommodate trade facilitation and customs regulatory control, the study identifies some discrepancies between ‘policy and implementation’ or ‘principles and practices’, particularly in the areas of risk management, customs procedures and information technology. These implementation problems are found to result mainly from the lack of skills and knowledge of the customs officers. A key finding of the study is that continuous and sustainable development of human resources in terms of customs competency is required to ensure transparency, consistency and predictability in providing customs services. The study makes theoretical contributions to the body of knowledge in the field of customs by proposing an accommodation approach to facilitation and control. This approach represents a more practical and effective mechanism alternative to the traditional approach of reconciling a balance between apparent tensions of trade facilitation and customs regulatory control. The research also makes practical contributions to both the public and private sectors by outlining facilitative mechanisms for the continuous development of public services while at the same time maintaining regulatory compliance through an appropriate level of regulatory and procedural impositions. The study concludes with potential avenues for future research in the areas of customs administration and border management.
Date of Award2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorChris Aulich (Supervisor) & David Widdowson (Supervisor)

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