The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards

Background

          Thailand joined the WTO on 28 December 1994 as a founder member along with 80 other nations. By joining, Thailand committed to lowering customs tariffs and other trade barriers.

          A new mechanism was needed for Thailand to maintain active participation in the international trade of agricultural and food products while fulfilling its WTO obligations. In a restructuring of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in 1997, the Bureau of Agricultural Commodity Standards and Inspection was established under the Office of the Permanent Secretary. The Bureau was to deal with the issue of the non-tariff trade barriers and served as a national focal point to coordinate with national and international partners, as well as to develop national agricultural commodity standards in line with international standards. The major non-tariff barriers involving the agriculture and food trade are those decided under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and the Technical Barrier to Trade (TBT) agreements. The Bureau worked in conjunction with other related departments in order to provide well-coordinated and high quality services to the agricultural and food industries.

          In a major government restructuring in 2002, the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) was established in place of the Bureau of Agricultural Commodity Standards and Inspection. The Bureau is the focal organization to control agricultural products, food, and processed agricultural products by enforcing standards along the whole food supply chain. ACFS is also charged with accrediting Certification Bodies of agricultural commodities and foods, negotiating with international partners in order to reduce the non-tariff barriers to trade and improving the competitiveness of Thai agricultural and food standards.