Joke of the day : 17 types of business protected by FBA… liberalised ? Maybe. But later. Or preferably never.

The Commerce Ministry is considering liberalising up to 39 businesses under the protected list of the Foreign Business Act (FBA) in order to improve business conditions and promote foreign investment.

“The plan to liberalise businesses under the FBA is part of the government’s strategy to encourage foreign investment during the world economic downturn, as well as provide more flexible conditions to improve Thailand’s business environment,” said Kanissorn. (Nation)

You say : “Great. At last”. And you add : “They are pragmatic. That’s really good. We have a crisis, they’re reacting, in order to attract foreign businesses. Good”.

And then you continue to read the article…

The department has hired the Fiscal Research Policy Office to study which businesses under the FBA’s protection lists should be liberalised and which need more time for adjustment.

Ah… politicians have asked… bureaucrats… Hum.. To make a study. Hum… And within the “liberalisation” idea there is the idea… of protection. 😉

But you have a good mood, so you continue to read.

Seventeen types of businesses under consideration are engineering, construction, brokerages, retail agencies, wholesale, advertising, hotels, food and beverage retailing, computer services, warehouse control and domestic transportation, business consultancy, schools, entertainment, auction and sale brokers, pawnshops, and plant cultivation and propagation.

For these 17 types, the Commerce Ministry’s Foreign Business Act committee will consider the adjustment period needed before they are opened up – three years, four to six years, or longer.

Now you are laughing out loud, like the young people like to say. You knew there would be a trick. 😉

Of course.

Let me rephrase so you can understand the issue here : thanks to the Foreign Business Act (and the infamous List 3), businesses like restaurant, bar, tourist guide ARE FORBIDDEN to foreigners (unless a special licence is granted) because “Thai nationals are not yet ready to compete with foreigners“.

I repeat : thais are unable to compete with foreigners because they are so stupid (I don’t say that, the thai government does) for :

-Selling food or beverages
-Production of lime
-Hotel business, except for hotel management service.
-Plant cultivation and propagation business.
-Legal service business.
-Accounting service business etc.

The list is not over (read here, end of the page).

It would be hilarious if it wasn’t tragic.

So to summarize : another totally empty and idiotic statement from a thai official who thinks, genuinely, that he can fool those bloody foreigners. Us.

Well mister Kanissorn you’ve missed. You are a clown. And, worse, you insult your own people, over and over, by defending the List 3 of the FBA.

I’ve got another satisfaction. I know, it’s petty. The global crisis is going to crunch the haughtiness of those bureaucrats who think they’re smart.

All those clowns are going to be wiped out. Direct into History’s garbage can, where they belong.

[To know everything about the Foreign Business Act circus, the history, how it works, how the thai authorities are playing with it… read my special dossier]

4 Responses to “Joke of the day : 17 types of business protected by FBA… liberalised ? Maybe. But later. Or preferably never.”

  1. 1 Marvo 26 February 2009 at 11:02 am

    “The plan to… .. encourage foreign investment during the world economic downturn”

    …will consider the adjustment period needed before they are opened up – three years, four to six years, or longer.

    Laughing out loud? I’m on the bloody floor and my sides are split!

    Doesn’t anyone around Kanissorn point out what a complete and utter tosser he is making of himself?

  2. 2 Lloyd 26 February 2009 at 12:34 pm

    For all growing countries it is a hard call on just how “open” they are towards foreign investment, some protection is warranted and beneficial for longer term growth and benefits to its residents.

    I would agree with the “list” that a certain amount of tourism related businesses should remain Thai owned and definitely agree to protecting the agricultural industries “within reason” however when it comes to building, Technology, entertainment and general businesses there seems to be little justification except to allow Thai companies to rip-off their customers for a little longer.

    The real estate and property markets need to be better regulated only then should they be opened up to foreign companies, even now with some level of protection there are so many con artists and fraudsters building and selling property in Thailand.

    Protectionism is not all bad, take a look at the UK where huge multinational companies in the energy and transportation sectors take so much from the economy yet put very little back. Prices for travel and utilities in the UK are documented as being the highest in Europe for no reason other than UK nationals are seen as “cash cows”, often to companies owned by countires the UK provides foreign aid to!

  3. 3 Fonzi 26 February 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I think Thailand should liberalize, but within reason. I think agriculture should be off limits, unless you are a consultant, which could help Thai farmers, technology wise, or with organic farming.

    Real estate brokers should be licensed. They should demonstrate competency in Thai real estate law.

    Construction contractors should be licensed, bonded and insured.

    Engineers should be licensed. Thailand’s infrastructure is a joke, so probably needs as many engineers that it can get.

    Thais can compete with anybody when it comes to restaurants, hotels, spas, tourism stuff, and probably have a competitive advantage without being protected, so that restriction is just stupid.

    Also, retail, food and beverage, and advertising seem like stupid restrictions. Thais can definitely compete in those areas and foreign competition would only make those areas stronger.

    What Thailand really needs is a boost in the Green Development field, but that doesn’t seem to be a restricted class, so probably not a problem anyway.

    What strikes me in that list is not that Thais can’t compete with foreigners, but these are all industries rife with corruption, so it probably has little to do with competence and more with hiding corrupt business practices of Thai companies.

  4. 4 Bedwyr 27 February 2009 at 3:53 am

    In this context, Abhisit’s loud complaints by about the ‘evils of protectionism’ at ASEAN ring rather hollow.

    In true Thai style, saying one thing and doing exactly the opposite continues to be the strategy. Play to the gallery at all costs and maybe if he shouts loudly enough about what other people are doing, then nobody will notice what he is doing.

    God I hate these disgusting people.


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.

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