US to cut trade benefits for Thai products


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WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Bernama): US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States will suspend preferential trade benefits for certain Thai products under the so-called Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), effective Dec 30.

"I have determined that Thailand has not assured the United States that Thailand will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets," Trump wrote in a letter to Congress, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Accordingly, I have determined that it is appropriate to suspend the duty-free treatment accorded under the GSP to certain eligible articles that are the product of Thailand," Trump wrote.

The GSP, the largest US trade preference programme, is designed to promote economic development by allowing duty-free entry into the United States for around 3,500 products from over 100 designated beneficiary countries and territories, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Meanwhile, 4,977 staff at Thai Airways International (Thai) applied for different stages of its Mutual Separation Plan (MSP) for the survival of the airline, Thai news agency (TNA) reported.

Acting Thai president Chansin Treenuchagron said the airline offered the MSP to its staff because it had been loss-ridden and the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 caused it to undergo rehabilitation.

Cargo and repatriation flights, food services from its catering department and the sales of Thai souvenirs could not make up for lost revenue from the stalled passenger service.

The airline management invited early retirement applications from Oct 19 to 28. During the period, 1,918 employees applied to retire on December 1, while 2,699 employees wanted to leave with 20 per cent salary payment for six months from November to April and would later apply for early retirement; and 360 employees applied for both choices.

The applicants contributed to the survival of the airline, Chansin said. The airline employs about 20,000 people. - Bernama

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