Foreign Investment In Thailand
Significant Consideration For Foreign Investment In Thailand
Thailand remains an attractive destination for foreign investors wanting to open a new business or a branch office, in seeking out new markets. Foreigners firms or individuals wishing to wholly own their business need to be aware of Thailand’s laws and regulations regarding foreign investment and the list of activities that are reserved only for Thai citizens.
According to Thailand’s Foreign Business Act B.E. 2542 (FBA), the businesses operations reserved for Thais are divided and listed under 3 categories as follows:
List 1: Foreign Investment In Thailand – Business Activities Not Permitted to Foreigners
(A) Newspaper publishing, radio or television broadcasting stations.
(B) Rice farming, plantation or crop growing.
(C) Livestock farming.
(D) Forestry and timber processing from a natural forest.
(E) Fishery, only in respect of the catchment of aquatic animals in Thai waters and specific economic zones of Thailand.
(F) Extraction of Thai medicinal herbs.
(G) Trading and auction sale of antique objects of Thailand or objects of historical value of the country.
(H) Making or casting Buddha images and monk alms bowls.
(I) Land trading.
List 2: Foreign Investment In Thailand – Business Permitted to Foreigners under Conditions**
Any business related to National Safety or Security; affecting Arts and Culture, Traditions, Folk Handicraft; or Natural Resources and the Environment, as follows:
Group 1 – Business related to National Safety or Security: Production, Selling and Maintenance of firearms, ammunition, gun powder, explosives, and Domestic Transportation byland, water or air.
Group 2 – Business affecting Arts and Culture, Traditions, Folk Handicraft: Trading Thai art, art objects, handicrafts or production of carved wood, etc.
Group 3: Business affecting Natural Resources and the Environment: Manufacturing sugar from sugar cane, salt farming or rock salt mining, etc.
List 3: Foreign Investment In Thailand – Other Business Permitted to Foreigners under Conditions**
These activities are classified as businesses in which Thai nationals may not yet be ready to compete alongside foreigners, like rice milling and flour production from rice, farm produce, fisheries, specifically marine animal culture and forestry from a grown (i.e. not natural) forest, accounting, legal, engineering, and architectural services, etc.
Note that Foreigners are strictly prohibited from engaging in business activities on List 1 of the FBA, while foreigners wishing to engage in activities on List 2 and List 3 of the FBA must obtain a Foreign Business License (FBL), which requires approval by the Ministry of Commerce or the Foreign Business Committee respectively.
** Lists 2 & 3 as shown are only partial representations. Please contact your legal representative for a comprehensive list of prohibited and permissible business activities under the Foreign Business Act.