Thailand’s 2013 Foreign Business Act Amendments

by admin on September 9, 2014

New updates to Thailand’s Foreign Business Law permit non-Thai nationals and foreign majority owned businesses to operate several newly specified types of businesses in the “service businesses” category of the FBA, which were formerly prohibited, without first obtaining a Thai foreign business license.

The Foreign Business Law protects certain business activities considered to be important to the national interests of Thailand by prohibiting or restricting non-Thai nationals and non-Thai majority owned companies from operating such businesses. This law divides businesses restricted to foreigners into three lists—each with its own degrees of business operation restrictions for foreigners.

Foreigners are strictly prohibited from operating businesses specified in List One. Likewise, foreigners are not allowed to operate businesses from List Two unless they receive special permissions from the Minister with the approval of the Cabinet. List Three is the least restrictive category of business activities for non-Thais, but foreigners must obtain permission from the Director-General, with the approval of the Committee, to operate businesses listed in this category.

Specializing in international and Thai cases, the corporate lawyers at Chaninat and Leeds have decades of experience with Thai company registration.

The Foreign Business Law Amendment, issued March 11, 2013, listed specific, formerly protected business activities under the category of “service businesses” which are now exempt from List Three of the Foreign Business Act. This means non-Thai nationals and foreign majority limited companies can operate those types of service businesses listed in the amendment without first obtaining a foreign business license.

Recently, Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce announced plans to propose even further amendments to the Thailand Foreign Business Act. According to The Nation, Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, director-general of the Business Development Department, said one proposal would remove protections from more industries on List Three of the FBA, making those business activities available for foreign ownership and operation.

“The amendments will focus on compromise, to ensure fair competition for Thai and foreign investors, facilitate more business growth, and prevent nominee problems,” Gearaviriyapun said.

Read the in-depth overview of the Foreign Business Act Amendments here.

Read the unofficial English translation of the Foreign Business Act Amendments here.


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