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August 18, 2021

Thailand Readies Far-Reaching Draft Royal Decree to Regulate Digital Platforms

On July 15, 2021, Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) announced a public hearing for their draft royal decree to regulate digital platforms (particularly e-commerce and e-service platforms) that provide services to people in Thailand. The draft royal decree is to be issued under the country’s Electronic Transactions Act B.E. 2544 (2001) and will be of particular concern to digital platform operators, which are defined as operators of intermediary digital platforms that provide a connection space for platform users to offer goods, services, or intangible property via a computer network, regardless of whether a contract is made on the digital platform.

The key elements of the current draft royal decree are as follows:

  • Extraterritorial scope. Operators of digital platforms located outside Thailand may be subject to the royal decree if the platform is intended to provide services to people in Thailand (evidenced by actions such as inclusion of Thai language, Thai currency, Thai domain names, and so on).
  • Appointment of a local representative. A foreign digital platform operator that falls under the extraterritorial scope of the royal decree must appoint a local representative in Thailand, without limitation of liability.
  • Notification requirements. Regulated digital platform operators must notify the ETDA of their operations via an online submission channel. The ETDA will also develop an online channel for consumers to check or verify the list of regulated digital platform operators. Further notification requirements and procedures are to be prescribed by the ETDA later.
  • Platform-related requirements. The draft royal decree also sets various platform-related requirements, depending on the size of the digital platform operator (to be specified later). These requirements relate to the following:
    • Terms and conditions;
    • Content display;
    • Content rating;
    • Feedback mechanisms;
    • Dispute settlement;
    • Access and use of data;
    • Control of advertisements;
    • Notice and takedown measures;
    • User verification processes;
    • Suspension of user accounts;
    • Remedial measures for damages incurred from the services; and
    • Other conditions as prescribed by the ETDA.

Under the current draft, digital platform providers with fewer than five employees and turnover of THB 1.8 million or less are exempted from certain obligations.

  • Reporting obligations. Regulated digital platform operators must report on their size annually, within 30 days from the end of their fiscal year. They must also report to the ETDA regarding compliance with the decree’s various obligations and requirements.

Current Status

In the public hearing, the ETDA received a range of challenging feedback from business operators, and the ETDA is now reviewing and amending the draft royal decree in response to the significant concerns raised. Once the draft royal decree has been amended and finalized, it will be submitted to the ETDA board and the cabinet for their respective approval; if approved, the amended draft will then be the subject of another public hearing.

Tilleke & Gibbins will continue to closely monitor the progress of this draft royal decree. For more details on the draft royal decree’s regulatory requirements, please contact Athistha (Nop) Chitranukroh at [email protected], or Thammapas Chanpanich at [email protected].

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