Civil society groups campaign for boycott of 7/11

Thailand’s think tanks for consumer rights and sustainable agriculture are urging people to boycott a giant convenient store chain and to call on the junta to revise business laws against market monopolisation.

BIOTHAI and FTA Watch, think tanks on sustainable agriculture and trade agreements, and the Foundation for Consumers issued a joint statement on Monday to urge people to boycott 7/11, the largest convenience store chain operated by CP All Plc, a sub-division of the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), one of the largest conglomerates in Asia, from 7 to 11 May 2015.

The statement also called on the public to pressure the government to amend the 1999 Trade Competition Act in order to create a fairer business environment for small entrepreneurs and prevent market monopolisation by large conglomerates.

According the three, CP business practices, especially in food and agricultural products, have driven small operators out of business.

The company has become successful in promoting contract farming which has left poor farmers destitute after signing the farming contracts because they are locked into buying expensive seeds and fertilisers from the company.

In order to protect consumers and small business operators, the flaws in the 1999 Trade Competition Act that allow big business to manipulate the market, which has been consistently ignored by various governments for the last 16 years, should be amended, the three added.

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