Farming Foreign Ban Mirrors Attitude on Land Ownership
Despite a profound slump in the property market and capital flight of many overseas institutional investors in the sector, there appears to be little light at the end of the tunnel on changes to the existing land ownership law. Comments made this week by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reinforced the ban on farm land under the existing Foreign Business Act have reiterated that Government policy and public sentiment remain entrenched and unmovable.
Triggering the farmland issue has been a growing rice farming industry where many of the growing Asian countries have turned from exporters to importers as a result of population growth. Not dissimilar to the FBA (foreign business act) scare a few years ago in the real estate trade, the alleged use of Thai nominees is becoming a hot enforcement issue.
Taking a step back and viewing the current high profile farm land and rice issue which have raised calls for protectionism in the country, its clear that the same arguments will apply to property land owning and form a very large obstacle to reforms in the foreseeable future.