Price gouging by any other name | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Price gouging by any other name

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A story in the Bangkok Post the day before Valentine's Day quoted an executive for a flower delivery service as saying prices for roses in Thailand are the highest in the world. The company said it had increased the price of a single rose from 370 baht to 400 baht, because of higher fuel costs and higher wages, and roses imported from the Netherlands were double that. 

Most readers are probably aware that it is possible to buy locally grown, somewhat smaller roses many places around town for much less, although they too were selling for inflated prices last week. What is of more concern is that many other items which are not grown, manufactured or processed in Thailand, and even some that are, are also sold at vastly inflated prices. Much of this, of course, has to do with exorbitant import or excise taxes that are imposed on so many different categories of goods. The most well known example is cars, especially imported luxury cars, which might sell in Thailand for several times what they do in the United States or Europe.

Luxury cars manufactured locally may be twice the price abroad, and "ordinary" cars are also usually much more expensive than what the same brand and model would be elsewhere because of the excise taxes imposed. Even those benefiting from the policy of the current government to lower tax rates for first-time car buyers are still paying more than they would elsewhere.

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