23 Apr 2007

Thailand to weigh new foreign business ownership rules

By Orathai Sriring (Reuters)

BANGKOK: Thailand's military-appointed legislature will debate this week proposed changes to foreign business ownership rules that are still making foreign firms nervous despite government efforts to soothe their fears.

Business chiefs fear foreign companies will be driven away by the new rules, which emanate from the furor generated by the takeover of Shin Corp., the telecommunications giant founded by the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, by Temasek, the Singapore government investment firm.

At the least, the changes could stifle foreign investment in the export-dependent economy, business executives said.

"While other Asian countries, with less political and economic worries and larger markets, are opening up the doors for foreign investment, Thailand is doing the opposite," said Paul Strunk, head of the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce.

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