Published On: Fri, Aug 31st, 2018

Foreign Business in Thailand

Thailand has been considered as one of Asia’s important countries. Its land area is the world’s 51st largest and with almost 70 million population, Thailand is undoubtedly, one of the world’s emerging economy. Its strategic location paved way for its nomenclature as the gateway of Asia, as such, international investors have considered the country for its increasing market growth rates.

Thailand’s increasing exports around the world brought about by its emerging auto industry, rice and agricultural commodities had increased its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at around 4-5% annually. This growing rate has attracted local and foreign businesspersons to engage in various economic activities in the country.

Foreign businesses in Thailand are emerging because the country has developed policies to encourage foreign investments. The Foreign Business Act of Thailand, along with other treaties and international agreements with economies of the Asia-Pacific had opened its doors to foreign business activities.

The Foreign Business Act of Thailand categorizes the list of businesses in which foreigners may engage in. List 3 thereof, specifies the non-restricted activities for foreigners, as follows:

  1. Rice milling and production of flour from rice and farm crops
  2. Fishery especially of aquatic animals
  3. Forestry from planted forest
  4. Production of plywood, veneer, chipboard and hardboard
  5. Production of lime
  6. Accounting service business
  7. Law service business
  8. Architect service business
  9. Engineering service business
  10. Construction except the construction of public fundamental services for public utilities or communications that require special equipment, machines, technology and skill and that has the capital from aliens at a minimum of 500 million baht; other constructions stipulated in the ministerial order
  11. Broker or agent enterprise except
    • being a broker or an agent for stock trade or service relating to a forward trade of agricultural goods of financial document or stocks
    • being a broker or an agent for trading for trading or providing necessary goods or services for the production and services in the enterprise’s group
    • being a broker or an agent for trading, purchasing or distributing or providing materials both in the country and in foreign countries for selling domestic products or importing product as an international trade with an alien’s capital at minimum of 100 million baht
    • being other kind of brokers or agents as stipulated in the ministerial orders
  12. Sale at auction except
    • The international auction that is not an auction of ancient objects, antiques, art materials that are artworks, crafts or relics of Thai or historically worthy relics of the country
    • Other kinds of auction stipulated in the ministerial order
  13. Domestic trade relating to local agriculture products or produces that has not been forbidden by other laws
  14. Retailing trade of all goods that has the entire capital at the maximum of 100 million baht or has the least capital of each store at the maximum of 20 million baht
  15. All kinds of wholesaling trade that has the least capital of each store at the maximum of 100 million baht
  16. Advertising business
  17. Hotel business except hotel managing service
  18. Tourism
  19. Sales of foods and beverage
  20. Cultivation, propagating and improving plants
  21. Other service businesses unless otherwise stipulated in the ministerial order

Foreign business laws in Thailand, however, are quite complex. It is mandatory for foreigners to engage reputable Thai lawyers for assistance before commencing their business operations. In which case, the foreign investor is secured with his investments right from the start.

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