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Brisk exports help Thai sugar sector swallow drink tax

World's No. 3 sugar producer was first in ASEAN to introduce obesity measure

Thailand began raising taxes on sweetened drinks last year with the goal of reducing obesity.

BANGKOK -- Thailand's massive sugar industry has been conspicuously quiet since the Southeast Asian nation introduced an excise tax on sweetened drinks six months ago, betting a robust export market will more than make up for any drop in demand at home.

Taxes on sugary drinks began rising last September, and will continue to do so in the years to come. This makes Thailand the first among its peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to take such a step, recommended by the World Health Organization to combat obesity.

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