The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards

Background

          Thailand joined the WTO on 28 December 1994 as one of the founder members along with other 80 nations. This membership included a commitment to lower customs tariffs and other trade barriers.

          In order for Thailand to maintain active participation in the international trade of agricultural and food products while fulfilling its WTO obligations, a new mechanism was needed. Therefore the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives was restructured in 1997 resulting in the establishment of the Bureau of Agricultural Commodity Standards and Inspection. This was affiliated with the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. 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 superior services to the agricultural and food industries.

          Five years later, the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards (ACFS) was established on October 9, 2002 under the provision in Section 8 F of the National Administration Act B.E. 2534 amended by the provision of National Administration Act B.E. 2543 (Fourth Edition). The Bureau has been designated to be 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.