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Trade competition move creates waves

A state enterprise has raised concerns over a draft amendment by the Commerce Ministry of the Trade Competition Act 1999, arguing that the move may affect its competitiveness, a source at the ministry said.

The draft amendment of the law states that the law will be enforced on all state enterprises and private firms. The existing law applies only to private companies.

The source declined to name the state enterprise, but said officials at the enterprise feared the new law would make it much less flexible in business.

As a state enterprise, it already has to go through many processes before its business plans obtain final approval, the source said.

State enterprises subject to the revised Trade Competition Act include PTT, Thai Airways International, Airports of Thailand, MCOT, TOT and CAT Telecom.

According to the source, the amendment would ensure that a giant entity could not easily manipulate the market by forcing its suppliers and consumers to agree to unfair conditions.

The source said the ministry believed that some state enterprises made big profits and had a large market share, which led to market dominance.

The government therefore needed to create a level playing field to ensure that private companies were able to do business in Thailand.

Santichai Santawanpas, deputy director-general of the Internal Trade Department, said the department was studying whether to make the ministry's trade competition committee become an independent organisation so that it would have more working flexibility and to prevent possible political intervention.


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