Competition office eyes level playing field
Complaints have risen the past 4 years
Complaints about unfair trade competition have risen the last four years since the Trade Competition Commission was established as an independent agency on Oct 5, 2017.
According to Santichai Santawanpas, commissioner of the Trade Competition Commission, as of September this year, it had received 99 complaints about unfair trade competition. Of the total, two were filed in 2017, 11 in 2018, 20 in 2019, 30 in 2020, and 36 in 2021.
Based on business category, commerce has drawn the most complaints totalling 38 cases, mainly regarding retail, franchise and e-commerce platforms.
Divided by offence, complaints about unfair business practices totalled 66, the alleged abuse of dominant market power tallied 13, while business collusion to create a monopoly, reduction of competition or restriction of competition had six complaints.
According to Mr Santichai, the commission found six complaints breached Section 57 on unfair business practices and it introduced administrative fines to those violators of up to 10% of revenues the year the crime was committed.
He said the office also introduced guidelines to supervise the business operations of entrepreneurs to prevent any unfair trade practices.
Over the last four years, it issued four guidelines for those in retail and wholesale business, franchise business, fruit purchasing and online food delivery.
Another guideline slated for implementation on Dec 16 this year is for trade credit for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Thailand has roughly 3 million SMEs and startups, including community enterprises. Tourism SMEs make up half of the total.
SMEs contributed 36% of GDP in 2018 before dropping to 35% in 2019 and 2020.
Mr Santichai said the office is committed to focusing on effective enforcement of competition laws against violators so that every business can compete freely and fairly, in line with the international standards.