Foreign Direct Investment
At Seri Manop & Doyle our lawyers provide foreign investors advice and assistance concerning all aspects of foreign investment in Thailand including restrictions on activities foreign businesses may engage in, applying for and obtaining Board of Investment promotion as well as company registrations.
Foreign investment in Thailand is generally governed by the Foreign Business Act BE 2542 (1999) and the Investment Promotion Act BE 2520 (1977).
In restricted businesses under the Foreign Business Act, a foreign owned company or an overseas company is required to obtain the foreign business license prior to commencing business operations.
Seri Manop & Doyle help investors considering which business structure would best suit their needs therefore securing their investment in Thailand.
1. Establishment of Branch Office, Representative and Regional Offices
Seri Manop & Doyle can advise clients regarding office characteristics and conditions to be met to be legally established prior to assisting clients to prepare the paperwork and complete the registration with the relevant authority. For instance, in order to set up a regional office in Thailand, a foreign company must have at least one other branch or affiliate company in Asia. In Thailand, representative and regional offices are not allowed to generate any income.
The activities of a representative office are limited to the following:
- Inspecting and controlling the quality and the quantity of the goods purchased or contracted to be manufactured in Thailand by the head office.
- Giving advice pertaining to the goods distributed by the head office to distributors or consumers.
- Sourcing goods or services in Thailand for the head office.
- Propagation of information pertaining to new goods or services of the head office.
- Reporting on business developments in Thailand to the head office.
The activities of a regional office can be summarized as follows:
- Communicating and coordinating the operation of branches and affiliates that are located in the region on behalf of the head office.
- Providing consulting and management services
- Controlling marketing and sales promotion planning
- Training and personnel development
- Financial management
- Providing services in research and development
2. Application for Foreign Business Certificate under Treaty of Amity (Thai-American)
The Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Thailand signed on May 29, 1968 allows American companies to maintain a majority shareholding in a Thai incorporated company, to wholly own a Thai company, or to open a branch office or a representative office located in Thailand. American-owned companies receive national treatment. The American-owned companies may engage in business on the same basis as Thai companies, and are exempt from most of the restrictions on foreign investment imposed by the Foreign Business Act. However, in order to comply with its obligation under the WTO agreements, Thailand might stop granting such Foreign Business Certificate. Please contact us to check whether this business structure is still available.
3. Application for Foreign Business Certificate under BOI certificate
The Board of Investment's objective (the "BOI") is to encourage investors to locate their projects in rural areas. A BOI promoted company is entitled to special privileges pertaining taxes, work permit for foreign workers. Moreover, a BOI promoted company with foreign ownership is also permitted to own land, to engage in certain restricted businesses under the Foreign Business Act without the need to apply for the foreign business license, and to bring in foreign technicians and experts to work on the promoted project. In addition to advising clients on BOI privileges, we can also handle any BOI application in a effective and timely manner.
4. Use of Regional agreements and Bilateral agreements
To help increase the value of its exports, Thailand has negotiated free trade agreements with numerous countries and blocs such as Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Peru and ASEAN that have resulted in many more opportunities for doing business with Thailand. At Seri Manop & Doyle, we stay updated on these FTA's to help our clients to get the best from their business deals.
5. Visas Extension and Work Permits Application
A new established company is provided a specific time period to meet other regulatory requirements. One of them involves exclusively foreign employees: obtaining a business visa extension and work permit. The regulations and practices at the Immigration and Labor Departments regularly change. We can assist foreign employees in obtaining business visas and work permits and minimizing the time and effort of the employer.