Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an investigation into the legality of Samanea Plaza Thailand, a new wholesale and retail trade and goods distribution center in Bangkok’s Bang Na district, following claims that the shopping center is fully owned by Chinese investors.
Gen Prayut has instructed all relevant state agencies, including the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the legality of the trade center. He stated that if the permit for the center was unlawfully issued, it would have to be shut down.
The decision to allow the trade center to continue operating has sparked criticism from Thai middlemen who import goods from China to be resold in Thailand. They fear that Chinese traders will use the shopping center to trade directly with Thai buyers, flooding the domestic market with Chinese goods and causing prices to collapse, thus harming local traders.
A group representing these Thai middlemen has petitioned the Ministry of Commerce to investigate the legality of the plaza in question. They argue that the government must take responsibility for this matter because it has been actively trying to attract Chinese e-commerce operators into Thailand.
Department of Business Development Deputy Director-General Jitakorn Wongkhatekorn later clarified that the department granted a permit for the trade center to operate as it is owned by three Thai legal entities: Samanea Bangna 02 Co, Samanea Bangna Co, and Samanea Holdings (Thailand) Co., with Cheuk Fung Au, a Thai citizen being a key shareholder.
According to Jitakorn, Cheuk Fung Au has a Thai mother and the decision to allow foreign businesses to operate in Thailand was made by weighing potential advantages and disadvantages and without any preference for investors from any particular nation. (NNT)