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Opposition Parties Vow to End Alcohol Oligopoly in Thailand

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Opposition Parties Vow to End Alcohol Brewing Oligopoly in Thailand

Thailand’s main opposition party, Pheu Thai, has joined forces with the Move Forward party to remove Thailand’s alcohol brewing oligopoly.

As things are, only the wealthy may produce and manufacture alcohol in Thailand, thanks to rules that effectively make it difficult for small craft brewers and new distillers to enter the market.

These rules have resulted in a virtual monopoly on the Thai brewing business, with only a few indigenous enterprises manufacturing all of the spirits and beers on Thai stores.

The domestic beer market in Thailand is virtually totally controlled by two ultra-rich families, the owners of the very popular beer brands Leo, Singha, and Chang.

The Pheu Thai Party has committed to liberalize Thailand’s beer and spirit brewing rules in order to allow small businesses to enter the market.

Following “the party’s disappointment at the voting Wednesday,” the major opposition party issued a statement on Thursday promising to continue pursuing a program to free up production.

Progressive Alcohol Bill Defeated by two votes

The Move Forward Party’s so-called progressive liquor bill to change the Excise Tax Act was barely defeated in the House of Representatives on Wednesday by only two votes.

The measure proposed by the Future Forward party seeks to remove Thailand’s beer and spirit oligopoly by allowing local brewers and distillers to make their alcoholic beverages domestically.

The progressive liquor law was defeated just one day after the government adopted updated Finance Ministry regulations to simplify financial and other requirements for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages.

The ministerial order, which was relatively narrow in scope, was interpreted as an attempt to derail the Move Forward law, which senior government officials had believed was too liberal.

Move Forward claimed that the new regulation failed to address fundamental issues such as production capacity.

According to Move Forward, by passing their proposed law and opening up the beer and spirits industry, Thailand may see a 15-20 billion baht boost to the economy, with the most of the money going to local businesses and Thai farmers.

Progressive Alcohol Bill a Top Political Agenda

The two opposition parties now appear certain to campaign on the subject in the upcoming general election in 2023, with Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat declaring on Wednesday that his party will not abandon its efforts to open up the spirits and beer industries to small producers.

Top Pheu Thai officials Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Srettha Thavisin issued the similar message on Wednesday, boasting of the opposition party’s determination to bring the liberalization drive to its logical conclusion if it is given the opportunity to form the government following the 2023 May elections.

“The liquor industry was not liberalized by the present government. But it will under the ‘Pheu Thai government,'” claimed Ms Paetongtarn, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter.

Mr Srettha, the CEO of property developer Sansiri Plc, is close to Pheu Thai and is widely expected to be promoted as one of the party’s candidates for prime minister.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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