The new Announcement of the Office of the Prime Minister will enforce the Online Alcohol Sales ban in Thailand from December 8th, 2020.
The amendment of two sections of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act signed by Thai Prime Minister on September 8th defines that no one could sell or provide service to consumers related to alcoholic beverage sales “through electronic devices or in a manner of electronic communication.”
As every new law, also this will have effect after 90 days from the publishing on the Royal Gazette. The declared intention of the legislator is to defend minors from alcohol abuse, making it impossible to purchase alcoholic beverages via the internet. According to the authority, the online purchase would not make it possible for the seller to ascertain the age of the buyer; therefore, the solution found is the total ban on online sales.
Anyone caught violating it would face a maximum penalty of a THB10,000 fine and six months in jail.
Many objections have been raised by the approximately 800 alcohol importers in Thailand, who pay several hundred billions Baht to the Treasury every year in duties, excise and taxes. The discontent is evident, which puts a large number of them at risk (many being depend exclusively on online sales) with a coup de grace that comes after the covid disaster. As in many other countries, SMEs are further hit in favor of large industrial groups and GDO.
These the facts. But what are the details of the Online Alcohol Sales ban in Thailand?
The details of Online Alcohol Sales ban in Thailand
What can be done after the decree has been enforced?
The law, as conceived, don’t allow any action by electronic mean targeted to the consumer. Only sales B2B shall be allowed on electronic support.
What is the meaning of “electronic” device? Almost everything: websites, applications, email, radio, TV. Considering that the law already forbid door-to-door activities, advertisement, and the use of any image aimed to promote sale and consumpion of alcohol, this means a total block of every activity for this sector.
Even a mailing including pictures, prices, and characteristics of a given alcoholic beverage shall be punishable if targeted to consumer.
The Online Alcohol Sales ban in Thailand represents, after the pandemic, the hardest strike to the importer community, that will take time to reorganize itself to get back the enourmous market shares lost under the applause of big corporations controlling the market.
Below we publish a non official translation of the decree signed on Sep 8th, 2020, that you can download HERE
Prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages by means or by electronic means of sale 2020
Due to evolution of technology that is constantly changing, some operators and shops Use a channel to trade alcohol through the media; this makes it more difficult to control who buyers are.
Therefore, it is required by law to prevent young people from having easy access to alcohol, and to reduce the impact of alcohol; it is necessary to issue this announcements to determine a legal measure to control the sale of alcoholic beverages.
By virtue of the Section 4 and Section 30 (6) of the Act for Alcohol control, 2008, the Prime Minister, with the advice of the Policy Committee National Alcoholic Beverages issued the announcement as follows.
1. Persons are prohibited from selling alcoholic beverages by electronic means directly to consumers, or from any action in the form of an invitation to purchase, or offering or selling goods or services to consumers directly with the marketing or sales of alcoholic beverages through electronic communication media, where seller and consumers can’t trade without personal meeting.
2. This notice is not applicable to the case of trading and Payment of alcoholic beverages by electronic means at a store, restaurant, or place where alcoholic beverages are served
3 This notification shall come into force after The prescription of ninety days from the date of publication in the Government Gazette.
* translation is not official and only aimed to invite operators to comply with the law. Anything reported above is not representing opinion but is just to inform professionals operating in the sector of import/export.