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Thailand’s competition law dead since arrival

15 6 0

THAILAND was the first nation in Southeast Asia to implement an effective competition law back in 1999 when such laws were unfamiliar to most developing countries. But exactly two decades have passed and Thailand does not have a single competition case on record to show for its troubles.

This lack of enforcement can be attributed mainly to the composition of the Competition Commission in recent years. For a time, the chairperson was a politician (then-minister of commerce) and the majority of commissioners were bureaucrats and big business representatives (from the Federation of Thai Industry and the Thai Chamber of Commerce). Independent parties — academics and small business — made up only a small minority.

The absence of a functioning competition law renders the Thai market highly concentrated. According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2018, Thailand ranked 38 out of 140 countries, but received a very low ranking of 96 for the indicator ‘extent of market dominance’. The figure is disappointing when compared to Malaysia’s rank of 24 and Indonesia’s of 51.

SEE ALSO: How UOB is helping Thailand’s SMEs get ahead in tech

According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Data Book 2018, Thailand also ranks highest for inequality globally. The top 1 percent of people control nearly 67........

© Asian Correspondent