On 25 October 2021, the Thai Cabinet approved in principle the national Electronic Transactions Development Agency’s (“ETDA”) release of its Royal Decree on Supervision of Digital Platform Services Required to be Notified (“DPRD”) under the auspices of the Electronic Transactions Act B.E. 2544 (2001).
The Decree requires that the ETDA be notified by business operators intending to provide digital platform services to consumers in Thailand. Subject to further announcements by the ETDA on specific exclusion criteria, the Decree may exclude digital platform services already regulated by other specific government authorities, or any other types of digital platform services to be prescribed by the ETDA.
For digital platform service providers located outside Thailand but subject to the Decree, such service providers are required to appoint a local representative in Thailand without limitation of liability. The ETDA directs that foreign operators with business operations in Thailand must ensure that its services or products are delivered or identified using the Thai language, using the ‘.th’ or other domain name(s) associated with Thailand, offering or denominating payments in Thai Baht, and allowing the use of Thai law as a governing law for transactions on the platform. This also includes giving consideration to service providers in searching for IP addresses on the internet for the benefit of consumers in Thailand. Ensuring access to digital platform services, and having offices, departments, and customer support personnel to assist users of the platform in Thailand; or issuing invoices to users in Thailand are also required. Subject to further announcements by the ETDA on specific types of operators which may be exempted from the new rules, the ETDA may impose requirements in terms of notifying users on matters concerning formation, policies and/or procedures that the digital service providers must adhere to:
Criteria for ranking display, or recommendations of products or services, as well as the offering of advertising;
Feedback mechanisms and opinions of platform users;
Information center, complaints, claims, and dispute settlement;
Access and use of data;
Notice and takedown measures; and
Other conditions as prescribed by the ETDA.
Digital platform providers are additionally subjected to various reporting obligations under the DPRD. They must annually submit a report to the ETDA within 30 days’ of the fiscal year-end detailing their size, volume of turnover and level of compliance with the DPRD’s various requirements, stipulations and obligations in terms of its activities in Thailand. The ETDA is empowered to suspend the operations of any affected digital platform provider that fails to comply with the DPRD’s rules and regulations, and entities that continue to be in breach within 90 days of having received a notice or order from the ETDA to cease any violations may be struck off its approved list and permanently banned from conducting commercial activities in Thailand. The DPRD is still technically at the draft stage, currently making its way through review by the Council of State before again being approved by the Thai cabinet, after which it will be published in the Royal Thai Gazette then duly enter into force, which is expected to occur within the next few weeks.
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