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Thailand’s Top Booze Business Group Blasts Online Sales Ban Proposal

Cheers. business people holding smartphone with beer on the screen

Thailand’s largest liquor-industry trade group blasted the government’s pending ban on online alcohol sales, calling it an ineffective measure that will bankrupt honest sellers and enrich bootleggers.

Thanakorn Kuptajit, president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said Friday that the new law, approved by the Public Health Ministry and awaiting publication in the Royal Gazette, contradicted the government’s announced desire to reduce social interaction and travel to retailers.

The government, backed by the Alcohol Watch Network, said the new law is necessary as online sales make it impossible to regulate where and when alcohol is sold and contributes to underage drinking.

However, Thanakorn said in a statement, the measure contravenes the state’s Thailand 4.0 strategy aimed at promoting innovation e-commerce. Banning online alcohol sales would put Thailand yet another step behind its international rivals.

“This measure hurts companies that work selling legally and honestly and will force many to shut down,” Thanakorn said. “Meanwhile, it will increase smuggling and the sale of illegal alcohol, depriving the state of tax revenue.”

Thanakorn also called the new law a “violation of people’s rights and freedom to choose what products they want to buy and where”.

TABBA believes the law is unnecessary as the industry is happy to cooperate with the government to address its concerns about underage age drinking and the time and location of alcoholic beverage sales, the association said.