Thai FDA classified tampons as cosmetic products long time ago, but two days ago a news was reported by almost all Thai media: government allegedly decided to classify tampons as cosmetics, subordinating them to the Thai FDA license and imposing a 30% cosmetic tax. This raised an angry reaction on social media.
This is a clear example of misinformation by media, with the only consequence of spreading malcontent between consumers.
Let’s talk clearly: in time of psycho-pandemics media are publishing everything that may rise the attention of their audience just to get some more “like-and-share”. They pedestrially copy and paste news from other media without any base knowledge or a simple control of the source.
This happened two days ago about this supposed classification of tampons as cosmetics but already happened in December 2019, when another similar “attack” by media rose the rage of Thai women: Excise Department had to issue a note specifying that the product were not subject to any additional tax. Same fake new two years later. Why?
Let’s clarify this topic with facts and real data..
Tampons classification as cosmetics: where is the new?
Thai FDA considers tampons as cosmetic product since long time. According to an announcement in the Royal Gazette on July 4, 2019 Tampons were considered necessary and not “luxury” products like, for example, detergents, soaps, shampoo (all cosmetics in fact). Therefore, Tampons are subject to price control by the Ministry of Commerce.
Our direct experience: we had a product check last year (2020) for a customer of ours. Despite our concerns (tampons are clearly for internal use, that is not a scope for cosmetics) Thai FDA confirmed Tampons are cosmetics. So, nothing new and the breaking news creating so much rumors is irrelevant. Or better, a no-news.
Tampons are not subject to any additional cosmetic tax
Another evidence that media just spread panic without any base of reality. Government already confirmed that tampons are only subject to VAT 7%. Let’s remind those journalists that, among cosmetics, only perfumes are subject to a 15% excise tax (+local taxes). Excise taxes are applicable only to goods that adversely affect health, social morality, environment and luxury products that are not necessary to daily life. This is of course in contraddiction with the use of the product subject we’re focusing on.
Tampons are subject to a duty between 0 and 10%
According to Custom Department, import of tampons under HS code 96.19.00 is subject to a duty of 10% if manufactured in a country without free trade agreement, and duty exempt if coming from a FTA country.
Thai FDA Tampons classification as cosmetics is not a barrier for the product
Many magazine or commenters posted that FDA regulation will make things harder for consumers. Absolutely untrue. Thai FDA will check quality standards of Tampons (just a documentary check, since cosmetics are subjet to notification, not to license) and authorise the import under full resposibility of the Importer. This is a safety measure for consumer, that will have additional guarantees on the quality of the product. The cost for the manufacturer is IRRELEVANT compared to the size of this market and absolutely not influencing the consumer price.
In our opinion Thai FDA applied the minimum level of control. In fact, Tampons are for internal use, and according to definitions they could be classified as Medical Devices. This with all the issues involved in registration process and, considering the Law limiting the advertisement of Medical Devices, would be detrimental to the consumer.
So, our plause to Thai FDA for the decision and a pulling of ears to newspapers, trying to leverage on the emotional side of readers to get their attention. The consequence of such news was a general uprise of Thai women, that flooded the network with hundreds of thousands of angry comments. Was that necessary and beneficial to consumers or to the country?
Tampons market in Thailand
Tampons are not yet widely used in Thailand. Many companies are considering to enter in the market, especially in the B2C channel (e-commerce). This product have great potential and we bet on a two-digits growth in next years. If you are planning to import tampons in Thailand and sell on e-commerce platofrms, contact us for regulatory and fulfillment services.