Duty Free Shop Trade Association lodges inquiry letter to the Ombudsman, after timeframe set for AOT to open pick-up counters became overdue

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Mrs. Rawittha Pongnuchit, President of the Thai Duty Free Shop Trade Association

Bangkok 29 July 2018 – Mrs. Rawittha Pongnuchit, President of the Thai Duty Free Shop Trade Association, disclosed that the association has submitted the inquiry letter to The Ombudsman in quest of the notice for which The Ombudsman has submitted to Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) to open pick-up counters, along with two optional acts for AOT to consider for implementation within 30 day, which are:

  1. AOT shall allocate spaces outside of the contract to open pick-up counters as a form of public service, in order to enable other duty-free operators to operate, OR
  2. AOT shall coordinate with King Power Suvarnabhumi Co., Ltd. or King Power Duty Free Co., Ltd. to provide pick-up counters for other duty-free shop operators to deliver duty-free goods to their purchasers at Suvarnabhumi Airport. In this circumstance, AOT shall act as the coordinator between King Power and the operators with needs to use the pick-up counters.

As of now, the 30-day timeframe has become considerably overdue, the Thai Duty Free Shop Trade Association would like to inquire whether AOT, which is a state agency required to operate with recommendations of The Ombudsman and the Ministry of Transport, has declared their decision to take or not to take action, as well as to comply or not to comply with recommendations of The Ombudsman. It is hardly possible for The Ombudsman to proceed in compliance with the Organic Act on Ombudsman B.E. 2560 provided that AOT has remained inactive or failed to take action within the determined timeframe.

“Thai Duty Free Shop Trade Association is demanding clarification on this issue according to the verdict delivered by The Ombudsman, which stated the authorization of AOT given to sole entrepreneur to operate pick-up counters might be considered a discrimination or obstruction to free trade, as well as not facilitating general public or derogating the right of other outbound duty free shop entrepreneurs who operate in the city. Each of which is not compliant with the government policy in promoting trade and investment of foreign investors.” concluded Mrs. Rawittha.