AP Honda faces unfair trade suit

A meeting of the Trade Competition Commission on Thursday decided to ask the Office of the Attorney General to indict AP Honda for violating the Trade Competition Act of 1999, Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom said on Friday.

The commission also approved the sub-committee’s investigation results in the case, in which AP Honda was accused of having violated the Competition Trade Act of 1999.

The investigation confirmed that AP Honda’s policy of prohibiting its motorcycle dealers from selling other brands was a violation of the trade competition law and the firm should be indicted, said the minister.

Mr Boonsong, chairman of the commission, said he had directed the Internal Trade Department, which is the secretary general of the commission, to forward the investigation results to the Office of the Attorney General for possible legal action against AP Honda.

Legal action must be taken before the statute of limitations in the case expires this April. The Office of the Attorney General to decide whether or not to arraign AP Honda, he added.

Under the law, focusing on fair and free competition, violators are liable to three years' imprisonment and/or a 6 million baht fine.

Santichai Sarnthawalpath, deputy general of the Internal Trade Department, said his department will forward this case to the Office of the Attorney General within one week.

There was substantial evidence that AP Honda had violated Article 29 of the Trade Competition Act. If legal action could not be taken against the company as recommended, the Ministry of Commerce must review the law to ensure that it can be enforced against offenders, he said.

If the AP Honda case is taken to court, it would be the first case since the enactment of the trade competition law, he added.

In 2003, Thai Suzuki, Thai Yamaha and Thai Kawasaki filed complaints with the Ministry of Commerce demanding legal action against AP Honda for barring motorcycle dealers from selling other brands, saying this damaged their business and was a violation of the trade competition law.

The case has stalled for nearly 10 year because the prosecutors on several occassions told the commission to carry out additional investigations.

Related search: motorcycle industry Thailand, AP Honda, Trade Competition Act

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