By Pooky, this blog economics journalist
CP boss, Tanin, just said yesterday, that Thailand should allow foreigners to buy land, particularly farm land in Thailand, as it would spur development of Thai agriculture and raise the standard of living of Thai farmers.
“If foreigners wants to buy Thai land, we should not detest them, but open up the opportunity for them to help develop Thailand. We should let good foreigners with the know-how to invest. Just like America in letting foreigners invest and become a citizen of the country. In This way, we only gain there is no loss,” said Tanin, head of CP and ranked among the top 5 richest people in Thailand, with assets about US$ 3 billion.
CP and Tanin is a staunch supporter of the Democrat Party. CP donates massively to the party and its media is highly pro-Abhisit, the Democrat Party head.
However, Taksin, head of the Red Shirt, is considered by Thais as being on the cutting-edge of liberalize trade and investments. While Abhisit is copying much of that, Abhisit does not come close to Taksin in breaking through the envelope of nationalism, currently engulfing Thailand.
About a year ago, when Taksin was still free to enter Thailand, he bought Middle Eastern business to visit Thai farms, particularly, rice fields. That move sparked and out-raged in Thailand that Taksin was interested in attracting foreign investments in Thai farm lands. That fear still exists in Thailand today, with the country on a witch hunt for foreigners who may have bought Thai land through nominees.
Globally, many countries other than countries such as America, such as in Africa is opening up to foreigners to buy farm land, and many foreigners are investing in rice growing in those countries.
The future of Thai agriculture is being hotly debated in Thailand. Many don’t understand why Thai farmers are poor, while in many other countries, farmers are wealthy. Many Thais also are concern about how the ASEAN agriculture liberalization would impact Thai farmers, as imports will be allowed at no tax.
CP is considered, not just Thailand’s, but one of the globe’s most know-how advance agricultural and related conglomerate. Tanin enjoys massive political support and influence in Thailand society. However, on this subject, he is getting little support.