13 june 2008
All revisions to Thailand’s Foreign Business Act (FBA), which would have brought tighter rules for outside investors, have been scrapped, Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan said on Friday. “Don’t worry. No more. Finished,” he said. (Reuters)

11 june 2008
The Foreign Business Act (FBA) amendments proposed by the previous military-backed government will not be pursued by the current administration, said Suwit Khunkitti, the deputy prime minister and industry minister.
The FBA amendments would create unfavourable investment conditions in Thailand, and it is not possible for the government to touch the act when it wants foreign investors to help GDP growth reach the 6% target,” Mr Suwit said. (read complete story here).

28 march 2008
The government wants to set up “a committee to come up with a concrete plan on whether to amend the act by next month“. It seems that some items on the list 3 could be modified, along with the process of approval (instead of asking for a licence). Details here.

6 march 2008
The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of Thailand (JFCCT) calls for the government to push through amendments to the Foreign Business Act (FBA) in order to boost inward investment.
The government believes that the changes to the [Foreign Business] Act will create a win-win situation” Suwit [Industry Minister] said to the meeting. (Nation)

19 january 2008
The Business Development Department is considering transferring to police the cases of 12 companies over nominees of foreign owners.

The firms facing complaints of non-compliance with the FBA are Ucom; Bolero-Tak Wu Holdings; Telenor; Hutchison CAT Wireless Multimedia; Asia Aviation, a major shareholder of Thai AirAsia; Thai Sky Airline; CenCar, the operator of Carrefour; Ek-Chai Distribution System, the operator of Tesco-Lotus; Siam City Cement; DHL Logistics (Thailand); Burapa Lumpini Land; and Izumi Zenkosha (Thailand), an event-organiser (read here).

18 december 2007
Victory ! More than one year after launching the amendement of FBA, the Commerce Minister admits defeat. “The drafts drew huge opposition and it will be the next government’s responsibility to support the bills as both the Retail Business Bill and the FBA’s amendment are essential for the country“. (Nation)

7 november
The NLA Commission seems to have agreed on a definition of “control management”.
From now, the government will accelerate the reading process, but we cannot confirm how long the assembly will take for consideration” says a Commerce Ministry source. (Nation)

1 october
The addition of the term “control management” to the amended Foreign Business Act (FBA) will delay the act’s implementation as the Council of State cannot find a clear definition for this phrase, said a source at the Commerce Ministry. The process will delay the implementation of the amendment act, and it seems that the entire process may collapse if it is postponed until the next government, the source said” Details here.

3 september 2007
The gvt “is in the process of inspecting as many as 40,000 companies to see if they have used nominee structures to hold shares for foreign investors_ a practice prohibited by the Foreign Business Act
The investigation would continue even though draft amendments to the law are unlikely to be passed by this government. “. Details here.

22 august 2007
Seminar about FBA. Pridiyathorn Devakula, ex Finance minister who resigned in march 2007 (and former BOT governor), says : “Whatever the government does, its next step is going to be crucial and all I can do is to advise them two ways. First is that we hope that the government drags its feet and lets the bill die its own death, and second it is that the government revises ‘List 3′ down to zero or near zero“. Details here.

8 august 2007
Coup de theatre ! The government suddenly withdraws the bill and put the legislative process on hold. Why ? A group of hardliners within the NLA presented an amendment to the government’s draft. This amendment was voted (76 against 64). The goal was to add a third criteria to classify a company as thai or as foreign (within the FBA) : management control ! Read this amazing story here and here.

25 July 2007
NLA achieves the first reading of the amended act. A new sub committee is set up to “rectify” the act. It appears that some NLA’s members would like to include “management controls” among the criterias to define if a company is “foreign” or not.

26 june 2007
The Secretary to the Commerce says : “The commissioner is scheduled to conclude the rectifying process by the end of next month. The Act will be returned for the Cabinet’s acknowledgement and should be enacted before the end of the current government’s term“.

10 April 2007
The final draft (number 3) is adopted by the Cabinet, with some changes (increased criminal penalties for instance). And sent to Council of State for legal clearance.
After it is approved by the Council of State, the draft (with changes, if necessary) will be submitted again to the Cabinet before being sent to the National Legislative Assembly (for the vote).
Once approved by the NLA and published in the Royal Gazette, the amendment will become effective.

14 march 2007
A group of members of NLA (National Legislative Assembly) write their own draft of FBA 2.
Basically the core of their -insane- proposal :
-the voting rights issue (over 50%), to define a company as foreign, remains
-but it will not be automatic !
NLA proposes to create “a new screening committee to evaluate issues such as voting rights and nominee structures on a case-by-case basis for the purposes of the FBA“.

9 January 2007
The Ministry of Commerce submits the first draft of FBA 2 to the Cabinet.

28 December 2007
The Foreign Business Act Committee proposes a draft of amendments related to the voting rights of foreign shareholders.

26 October 2006
The Minister of Commerce appoints the Foreign Business Act Committee (with 10 members) tasked with studying and proposing amendments to the FBA within 60 days.
The Committee is chaired by Pramon Sutivong of the Thai Chamber of
Commerce.

3 march 2000
The Foreign Business Act of 1999 (“FBA”) takes effect.

November 1999
Foreign Business Act is enacted.
Unlike the previous Alien Business Law, the new FBA provides for more severe criminal penalties.

1972
Alien Business Law.

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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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