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Topic Summary

Posted by: sicho
« on: April 10, 2012, 01:05:12 PM »

What is the reason for this opposition to 'foreign dominance'? Is another term 'fear of competition'?
Posted by: thaiga
« on: April 10, 2012, 11:08:57 AM »

Revised anti-foreign dominance rules submitted

BANGKOK: -- The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's subcommittee on regulation revisions has submitted to the NBTC's telecom committee its draft of new regulations to prevent foreign dominance of the local market.

The move follows a public hearing held by the subcommittee in December on the need for changes to anti-dominance rules that were issued by the now-defunct National Telecommunications Commission and took effect last August.

NBTC member Suthiphon Tha-veechaiyagarn said the telecom committee would study the draft and consider whether to approve the revisions. If it does, they will be put to another public hearing.

Unlike the existing regulations, the revised ones do not touch on the issue of national security or require the NBTC to consult with national-security agencies if it finds that a licence holder appears to have breached regulations.

The regulation revision subcommittee believes the watchdog should not issue regulations beyond the scope of the authority granted it under the Telecom Business Law. The regulations are aimed at curbing foreign dominance of local telecom operators, which the panel does not consider to be a national-security issue.

The revised regulations replace the term "controlling power" in the existing law with the term "dominance". "Dominance" would be determined based on a licence holder's shareholding structure, particularly whether it controls a majority of votes at shareholders' meetings and has the authority to appoint or remove directors. This is in line with the Securities and Exchange Act BE 2535.

In the existing regulations, the term "controlling power" is defined as direct or indirect control of and influence on devising company policy, management and appointment of top executives, or any practices that could impact the licence holder's management.

Foreign dominance is said to exist where foreign parties have at |least half the controlling power in a licence holder or telecom concession holder.

Under the existing Foreign Business Act, a foreigner is defined as an individual holding non-Thai nationality, a juristic person registered overseas, or a Thailand-registered company in which at least half of the shares are owned by foreigners or overseas firms.

The revised regulations also remove the NBTC's authority to consider exempting a licence holder from the regulations on a case-by-case basis at a licence holder's request. This is designed to remove any subjective element from the watchdog's judgements.

The existing regulations specify 10 characteristics of foreign dominance that are to be prevented.

The 10th characteristic is any kind of dominance that allows foreigners or their nominees to control a licence holder indirectly or directly. The revised regulations remove this provision.

Suthiphon said the revision of the regulations was not done at the behest of any party and was not aimed to benefit any particular interest group. The revision is based on an analysis of the pros and cons of the regulations, and related laws, as well as a survey of people's opinions and recommendations.

Advanced Info Service has Singapore Telecom as its strategic partners, while Total Access Communication (DTAC) has Norway's Telenor. True Corp is the only local telecom operator without a foreign strategic partner.

DTAC filed a complaint with the Central Administrative Court last November, claiming the foreign-dominance regulations were illegal and unconstitutional.

True Corp supports the existing regulations as a necessary tool to prevent foreign-owned entities competing against local telecom operators in bidding for key spectrum licences, citing national security. But some parties say the regulations should be revoked, as they might contradict Thailand's commitments to global trade organisations.