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Probe planned on Thai fruit for China being resold illegally in the Kingdom

Feb 22. 2016
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By The Nation

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THE Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry plans to investigate fruit-sorting facilities for Chinese companies that buy Thai fruit for export to China and then resell some of the lower-quality fruit illegally back on the Thai market.

"If Chinese companies that obtain a licence to do sorting of Thai fruit for export to China, or have facilities for Thai fruit inside Thailand for export, but they buy Thai fruit and resell it on the Thai market, this is illegal and violates the Foreign Business Act BE 2542," said the department’s director-general, Wiboonlasana Ruamraksa.

According to the act, they could face a fine of between Bt100,000 and Bt1 million, and/or a prison sentence of three years.

She added that Thailand’s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and China’s Agriculture Ministry had an agreement whereby Chinese companies can operate sorting facilities to buy and package Thai fruit for export to China under the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standard. The fruit that does not meet GMP standards cannot be exported but also cannot be resold on the domestic Thai fruit market.

"The problem now is that when Chinese companies that buy Thai fruit have some that is lower than the GMP standard after the sorting process, they do not want to waste it, so they decide to resell it on the Thai market. But this violates the Foreign Business Act," she said.

Lower-standard produce

The department plans to investigate and solve this problem.

Meanwhile, the department and the Justice Ministry are studying how to formulate a standard contract to solve the problem of Chinese fruit buyers with lower-standard fruit. This will help both parties, buyers and sellers, conduct fair business. China is not the only country to have fruit-sorting facilities in Thailand, as Japan, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam also do this business here, Wiboonlasana said.

A standard contract will be used for all of the countries doing business in Thailand, she said.

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