2024 Interview with an ITSA Member – Chanwanich Security Printing

10 Jun 2024 | Interviews, Press Releases

In this month’s interview with a member of the International Tax Stamp Association (ITSA), we delve into Thailand’s tax stamp and security printing market courtesy of Chanwanich CEO Ronnachai Kongboonma, exploring how the nation’s industry has developed over the past century and how it’s likely to evolve in the coming years.

Ronnachai Kongboonma.

With an educational background in business administration and computer and information sciences, Ronnachai has worked with Chanwanich Security Printing (CSP) for over 20 years. He began his career in operations before moving to research and development, working more closely with customers and industry partners in business development and sales, until finally becoming CEO in 2017.

Founded in 1921, CSP was originally a printing house for producing documents for financial institutions, before moving into security printing during World War II, when the government called on it to produce banknotes.

CSP subsequently provided secure documents ranging from one-baht notes, lottery tickets and financial documents through to ID documents, excise stamps and EMV cards. It has since extended its core business-to-business consulting service and developed turnkey solutions for passport issuing services, ID management, border control systems and supply chain track and trace solutions.

Q: What role does your company play in the tax stamp industry?

A: CSP has been producing Thai excise stamps for over two decades. For this and many other products – such as banknotes, ID cards and passports – we use printing techniques that combine beautiful design with secure technology to create high quality, high security items to suit a range of requirements.

Q: What do you think is the most interesting aspect of tax stamps and/or the industry?

A: What makes it interesting for me is the large number of stakeholders involved at all levels of the tax stamp chain. They’re all linked, from the regulators to the designers and producers, through enforcement agencies, right down to brand owners and product makers and – ultimately – the consumers choosing and buying the products bearing tax stamps.

Communication between these links is crucial, to ensure everyone’s needs are met in the best and most efficient way possible. Of course, there’s always going to be some conflict of needs and interests, but we must work together and ensure we’re all pulling in the same direction, at least as far as the big picture is concerned.

It all comes down to the consumers in the end, and it’s for us higher up the chain to provide all the information they need to buy safe, authentic products and avoid the risks of counterfeits.

Q: What changes have you seen to the tax stamp industry during your time working in it?

A: Technology has advanced greatly in every area. Data is everywhere and that will accelerate more and more in future.

We’re also seeing increased collaboration between different stakeholders, as I mentioned before. Of course, improved printing techniques and the combination of physical and digital elements on tax stamps inherently make them more secure, but fostering the connections between different companies and agencies also offers opportunities to combat illicit trade.

With each link in the chain having some understanding of what came before and what comes after, everyone is better equipped to confirm authenticity and track products throughout the whole legal and correct process.

Q: What is one change to tax stamps or the industry you would like to see?

A: I think there are different needs at different levels of the industry, and it’s important to address the varying requirements of particular regions and cultures, but overall, I think greater standardisation and adherence to it would be beneficial.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is a good example, giving us some direction and structure and helping ensure everyone globally has the same approach to and understanding of what we’re trying to do.

Q: What do you see as the main challenges within the industry today?

A: Having highlighted the benefits of rules and regulations, these rules also come with challenges. Of course, this will vary by country and company, and while one solution might work well for one region, applying it to a different region and culture may not yield the same results. It’s crucial to ensure close collaboration between regulators, legislation, law enforcement and industry players to achieve the best outcome.

Q: How do you see the synergy between physical and digital features contributing to the efficacy of tax stamp programmes?

A: We must combine both, in order to optimise a given system’s ability to utilise data and digitise processes as much as possible. Physical elements are still required to identify products quickly and easily, with or without devices. The integration of physical with digitisation is the best approach to meet those needs and provide more online and offline complexity throughout the chain, delivering the safest and most practical product for all stakeholders.

Q: Why do you think the development of standards is important for the industry?

A: Transparency is very important. Standards encourage this by developing a context for the different parties involved. They also build trust, which is critical to the success of tax stamps for revenue collection, combatting illicit activity and ensuring consumer safety. When there is a common understanding of goals and processes, there can be trust that these processes are advancing correctly.

Opportunities for improvement will also arise – with learning across different markets and regions – and standards are there to help document and implement them.