Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Thai Business’

26th June 2017

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that there are new penalties associated with violation of the laws and rules regarding foreign nationals working in Thailand as set forth by the Thai Ministry of Labor. Specifically on June 22 of 2017 an Emergency Decree was promulgated stipulating some new rules and new penalties associated with both new and old regulations. Please see below for a distilled translated summary of the important points noted in this recent decree:

  1. Should an employer employ a foreign national to work in a position specifically restricted to Thai nationals, such employer shall be fined between 400,000 and 800,000 Baht per employed foreign national.
  2. Should an employer allow a foreign national to work outside the scope of the employment specifically noted in the work permit they shall be fined no more than 400,000 Baht for each employed foreign national.
  3. Should a foreign national work without first obtaining a work permit or work in a position specifically restricted to Thai nationals, they may be subject to imprisonment of no more than five years and/or fined between 2,000-100,000 Baht, or both.
  4. Should a foreign national work on a matter which is deemed immediate and important and do so without acknowledgment of a Labour Ministry officer by receiving form WP-10, they may be fined not more than 100,000 Baht.
  5. Should a foreign national work outside the scope of the job description set forth in the work permit, they may imprisoned not more than 6 months and/or fined not more than 100,000 Baht, or both.
  6. If an individual, through deceptive means, explicitly or implicitly advertises that they are able to bring a foreign national to work in Thailand in a dmestic capacity without a work permit, they may be imprisoned 3-10 years and/or fined 600,000-1,000,000 Baht, or both.
  7. Anyone found operating as a foreign job placement agency without a proper license shall be subject to possible imprisonment for 1-3 years and/or fines ebtween 200,000-600,000 Baht, or both.
  8. There appears to be a deposit/pre-authorization requirement being imposed by this decree, but the implications of this section are somewhat unclear. We will update this posting or post again to provide clarification on this point if necessary.

It should be noted that the above summary and translation is for informational purposes only and should be viewed as neither exhaustive nor as a substitute for fully analyzed legal research and translation. Those interested in delving further into this topic are urged to view the full decree in its entirety by following this link provided by the official wesbite of the Royal Thai Gazette.

As has been noted, in recent weeks and months there has been increased scrutiny from the Royal Thai Immigration Police with respect to Thai business visa applicants in the form of surprise inspections. This recent announcement regarding heightened penalties associated with imporperly obtained Thai work permits leads this blogger to infer that heightened scrutiny and possible inspections could be imposed upon foreign nationals working in Thailand in the relatively near future.

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2nd February 2016

In a recent article in the Bangkok Post it was noted that the Prime Minister of Thailand is poised to travel to the United States to attend a summit between the United States of America and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):

[H]e will join Asean leaders attending the first stand-alone US-Asean summit in the United States on Feb 15-16 in response to US President Barack Obama’s invitation… The meeting was called when Asean and the US upgraded their level of cooperation from dialogue partner to strategic partner in November last year…

This news comes upon the heels of a recent study which found that Thailand has major issues with skilled labor when compared to other jurisdictions in the region. To quote directly from The Nation newspaper:

According to the World Bank (WB), Thailand will face the biggest shortage of skilled labour in the Asean region…Yongyud Wongpiromsarn, director of the committee on education reform, said area-based education was key to redesigning the education system so it meets local demands…

Although it would appear that education reform remains key to creating more appropriately skilled labor in the Thai market, Thai officials also seem to be implementing legislation in order to improve the overall competitiveness of the Thai business sector. To quote from another article in the Bangkok Post:

The cabinet yesterday approved the draft amendments to the Trade Competition Act aimed at enhancing competition and reducing business monopolies and political meddling…

Notwithstanding the fact that Thailand has competitiveness issues it seems to this blogger that the current moment may be an auspicious time to invest or start a new business venture in the Kingdom. Although many news outlets have covered the fact that Thailand has been dealing with political and economic hurdles in recent years, this blogger’s opinion is that Thailand remains one of the best places to conduct business in Southeast Asia. While other countries may have more room for growth, Thailand has the advantage of substantial infrastructure and  can act as a corporate headquarters for a regional operation which could encompass places like: Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and even Malaysia or Vietnam. Meanwhile, Bangkok may soon be the entrepot for overland trade between China and the other ASEAN nations. This seems especially likely in light of the fact that a high speed rail system will be put in place linking China, Laos, and Thailand by rail. Bangkok appears set to act as the focal point for the exchange of goods and services between all of ASEAN and Southern China.

Clearly, Thailand has obstacles to overcome economically, but it would be unwise to discount Thailand as a place to do business, especially as getting into this market presently could compound later economic benefits.

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16th January 2012

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that Apple Inc. and the Korean firm Samsung are apparently working in cooperation in order to fashion the next generation of PC tablets. In order to provide further insight it is necessary to quote directly from The Korea Herald via the Asia News Network:

Apple Inc’s chief operating officer Tim Cook discussed adopting Samsung’s AMOLED display technology for tablet PCs during his recent visit to South Korea, industry sources said…Tim Cook is not only the COO, but also acting CEO of Apple. During Cook’s trip last week, Apple seems to have offered Samsung an advance for the AMOLED displays, the source said…

It is recommended by the administration of this blog that readers click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in further detail.

As technology continues to be a defining component of a more dynamic global economy there is hope that cooperation between American and Asian technology firms will result in further technological as well as economic advances. Concurrently, such cooperation is likely to also manifest itself in the form of better computing platforms for the general public.

It is interesting to note that while Northern Asia, especially Northeastern Asia has seen industrial advances the Southeast Asian region continues to show growth in the agricultural sector. This has arguably been the case in the Kingdom of Thailand for quite some time. However, there seems to be evidence to indicate that agricultural growth is expanding into the neighboring countries, such as Cambodia, which also happen to be members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Most notably, it would appear that a company in the Kingdom of Thailand is poised to undertake a new venture in the Kingdom of Cambodia with the aim of increasing rice production therein. For further elucidation this blogger must quote directly from the official website of The Bangkok Post:

Asia Golden Rice Co, Thailand’s second-largest rice exporter, has mapped out a 1.5-billion-baht rice investment in Cambodia in a bid to expand regionally…The plan includes modern, fully equipped milling and processing plants with a capacity to process up to one million tonnes of rice per year, and is considered a milestone investment in rice industry of Cambodia, the world’s sixth largest rice exporter…

It is once again recommended that readers click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read further on these developments in detail.

The overall ramifications of this plan remain to be seen. That stated, there is certainly room for speculation that a venture such as the one described above could have positive benefits for ASEAN as well as Asia as a whole. Since many countries around the globe import rice from Southeast Asia one could surmise that increased production could drive down the cost of rice internationally and thereby benefit rice consumers around the world.

For related information please see: ASEAN.

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7th January 2011

It recently came to the attention of the administration of this blog that a new trade complex is to be erected in Bangkok for the purpose of facilitating the trade of Chinese goods in Thailand and Greater South East Asia. To quote directly from the Voice of America News website:

Chinese state media say work will begin this month on a massive trading complex in Bangkok where Chinese manufacturers will be able to re-export their goods.

The China Daily newspaper said Thursday that the China City Complex will cost $1.5 billion and sprawl over almost three-quarters of a square kilometer. Chinese manufacturers will be able to import goods to Thailand, taking advantage of a new free trade deal, and then ship to the United States and Europe under more advantageous quotas and tariffs.

It is interesting to note that China officially became the second largest economy in the world in 2010. This plan will likely result in an increasingly prosperous trade relationship between the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Kingdom of Thailand. The Voice of America News website went on:

China has been using trade and commercial projects to improve its diplomatic and strategic standing in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s deputy minister of commerce, Alongkorn Ponlaboot, is quoted by China Daily saying the China City Complex corroborates “a strategic business-partner relationship” between China and Thailand.

China’s free-trade agreement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations was concluded last year.

Putting aside diplomatic and strategic matters, the ambitious project could result in economic benefits for many ASEAN countries (Association of South East Asian Nations) especially Thailand. The creation of a new commercial project such as the one proposed will likely come with the added benefit of new jobs for Thais near Bangkok, new business opportunities for Thai entrepreneurs, new trade opportunities for Thai, Chinese, and other foreign investors; and an overall increase in the flow of goods, capital, labor, and resources to the Kingdom of Thailand and the Greater ASEAN region.

Each year, foreign companies and individuals opt to pursue business ventures in the Kingdom of Thailand. In some cases, entrepreneurs incorporate a Thai Company in order to maintain limited liability while conducting business. Sometimes individuals opt to do business under a Thai sole proprietorship. Partnerships often prefer the added layer of limited liability that can be conferred upon certain members of a Limited Liability Partnership in Thailand. Large ventures conducting business in Thailand occasionally opt to take their enterprise public through the registration of a Thai public company. In any case, those wishing to conduct trade or business in the Kingdom of Thailand are well advised to contact a Law Firm in Thailand as advice and counsel regarding the unique aspects of Thai law can be highly advantageous for businesses making their first appearance in the Thai market. Foreign nationals employed or working in Thailand should note that all foreigners working within the jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Thailand are required to have a Thai work permit in order to lawfully take up virtually any type of employment.

Matters pertaining to the acquisition of Thai property or Thai Real Estate within the context of multi-jurisdictional business transactions can be complex and multifaceted. For this reason it is highly advisable that foreign nationals or foreign companies conducting business in the Kingdom of Thailand retain the services of a firm to assist with Thai property matters prior to making an irrevocable decisions regarding the acquisition of Thai real estate or property.

For related information please see: US Company Registration or Legal.

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26th September 2010

Those who track this blog may have noticed that there has been an increase in political activities which have disrupted the otherwise calm political and economic environment in the Kingdom of Thailand. There are many who feel that these disruptions are only temporary and will not prove detrimental over the long term. In the short term, individuals and businesses in Thailand are analyzing some new risks which have manifested themselves over the past 9-12 months. To quote directly from Westlawbusiness.com:

Several companies have recently disclosed risks arising from the political turmoil in Thailand. For example, Priceline.com, an online hotel auctioneer, recently disclosed that “civil unrest in Thailand, a key market for our Agoda business and the Asian business of Booking.com. This may result in “significant year-over-year declines in booking volumes in this market….Thailand has experienced disruptive civil unrest in prior years as well and continued or future civil or political unrest could further disrupt Agoda’s Thailand-based business and operations.”

Communication cable manufacturer General Cable is also reporting that it is subject to business risk arising from unrest in Thailand. The copper, aluminum, and fiber optic wire and cable products provider recently disclosed that its “business is subject to the economic, political and other risks of maintaining facilities and selling products in foreign countries. . . Thailand recently experienced significant political and militant unrest in certain provinces. The country’s elected government was overthrown in September 2006, with an elected government only recently restored.” [emphasis in original]

Political turmoil can have substantial unforeseen consequences for some businesses and business models operating throughout Asia. This is why retaining the assistance of local legal counsel can be advantageous for multinational corporations as professionals with on-the-ground knowledge of local business customs and practices can guide clients away from unforeseen legal, and in some cases; business, risks.

There are many, this author included, who feel that the current political turbulence in Thailand is simply a “bump in the road” eventually leading to overall tranquility and economic prosperity in the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the South East Asia region. Bearing that in mind, those wishing to establish a business or corporate presence in Thailand are well advised to conduct research and due diligence before making irrevocable business decisions as  maintaining a corporate presence in Bangkok, or the emerging markets in Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, and Vietnam can be fraught with unforeseen legal and business issues which may not arise in jurisdictions such as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada.

Many wishing to do business in Thailand opt to do so under a Thai Limited Company as this type of juristic person provides a measure of limited liability. Limited Liability is often one of the first methods employed by those wishing to hedge against unforeseen future business risks. American businesses may also enjoy many benefits pursuant to the language of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Regardless of the type of corporate structure, any foreigner wishing to work in the Kingdom of Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit prior to taking up employment pursuant to Thai labor law.

For related information please see: Bangkok Lawyer or Amity Treaty Company.

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29th December 2009

Thailand can be a difficult business market for some foreign firms to enter due to the many restrictions placed upon foreigners who operate in the Kingdom.The Foreign Business Act precludes foreigners from engaging in many business activities. However, over the past decade there have been repeated attempts to amend the Foreign Business Act. These attempts have been made for a variety of reasons. Some have hoped to liberalize the Thai market while others have tried to make the regulations more restrictive. In either case, these attempts have been just that because very few have been able to push through legislation to modify the law.

Recently the website Thaivisa.com in conjunction with The Nation Newspaper are reporting that changes may be coming for the Thai Foreign Business Act. To quote from Thaivisa.com:

“The planned liberalisation of certain business sectors currently limited to Thai firms will be accompanied by the imposition of more stringent restrictions on foreign-owned businesses operating in the Kingdom if a series of proposals by the Commerce Ministry are accepted by economic ministers. Under the ministry’s proposed amendments to the Foreign Business Act (FBA), voting rights of foreign shareholders will be more tightly controlled…In an effort to boost foreign investment, the government is considering removing some industries from the FBA’s Annex III, which lists industries that are off-limits to non-Thais. Annex III businesses that might be opened up include tour guide operators; trading in agricultural futures; stock trading; derivatives trading; commercial banking; insurance and assurance; pawnshop operators; warehousing; schools; and credit fonciers [sic]. ‘The amendments should create clear regulations for controlling each type of business. It should make the environment friendlier for foreign investors and streamline business regulations. However, it may affect some Thai businesses that are not competitive with foreign firms,” said a senior Commerce Industry source.’”

Although all of the implications of these proposed changes have not yet been deciphered it is clear that these changes will have a dramatic impact upon the foreign business community in Thailand.

This amendment may also come with new restrictions for some types of companies in Thailand:

“The proposed removal of some businesses from Annex III has prompted a concurrent proposal to impose stringent controls on the voting rights of foreign shareholder, which must not be higher than 50 per cent. The amended regulations would only apply to new foreign-owned companies.”

Some corporate structures in Thailand provide disproportionate voting rights for certain shareholders. If approved, this amendment would likely mean the end of disproportionate corporate voting rights. This section of the proposed amendment will probably not be warmly greeted by the foreign business community in Thailand. As it states above, in its current form, this legislation should not affect the operation of a Thai Company that is currently in existence, but the final draft of this legislation could be very different from what is being debated at this time.

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