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Foreign businesses urge government to delay alien business law


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Extracted from the Bangkok Post: Bangkok Post


Thailand's foreign business community urged the Thai government to delay approval of the amended Alien Business Law, as any immediate move on this front may result in withdrawal of foreign investments from Thailand.


In a show of its collective stance, Peter Van Haren, chairman of the Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand on behalf of 28 foreign trade chambers and missions called on the Cabinet to withdraw from the agenda of its weekly meeting Tuesday an item to approve the amended Alien Business Law as proposed by the Commerce Ministry.


Mr. Van Haren said the approval of this legislation as it stands would send negative messages to foreign investment throughout Thailand.


Of particular concern to the foreign businesses operating in Thailand is the clause demanding that Thai shareholders have over 51 per cent voting rights, enforcement of which would drive the majority of current and potential investors away from the kingdom, he said.


Mr. Van Haren said the Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand have officially petitioned Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, in a letter dated 22 December, requesting that a new committee be appointed to confer with all stakeholders within six months. The Chambers are willing to sit in on the committee meetings to provide information on the amendments.


In the letter, the Chambers also proposed changes to the law to open investment opportunities in sectors hitherto preserved only for Thai nationals.


Mr. Van Haren said passage of this law at this juncture when Thailand is facing multiple problems with the political and security situation would further erode investor confidence. (TNA)

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