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Posts Tagged ‘Thailand Business Law’

30th April 2011

Over the years this blogger has seen large numbers of tourists flock to the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the neighboring nations of Laos, the Union of Myanmar (referred to by some as Burma), Malaysia, and the Kingdom of Cambodia. At the same time, this blogger has also witnessed the metamorphosis of some of these tourists into entrepreneurs by remaining in some of these countries (as well as other jurisdictions in Greater Asia such as Indonesia, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Nepal, Macau, India, and Sri Lanka; to name only a few) in a business context for many years and; for some, even decades or a whole lifetime. Whatever the circumstances of those Americans Resident Abroad remaining in the region of economies increasingly being labeled by both the mainstream and alternative media outlets by their affiliation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) one thing is clear: the economies of Asia are set to expand at an incredible rate by relative historical comparison. Therefore, it stands to reason that there are likely to be more Americans doing business in these jurisdictions. This state of affairs is occurring at a time when the potential of the internet and the World Wide Web first noted little more than a decade ago is beginning to become fully realized by businesses large and small. As e-commerce becomes an evermore ubiquitous facet of virtually every enterprise’s business strategy it is becoming more clear that many business functions are increasingly being performed by businesses of all sizes online and, in some cases, these businesses are even being maintained from an entrepreneur’s home.

This phenomenon is interesting for this blogger to note from the perspective of an American who is resident in Bangkok, Thailand as the Thai shop-house business model of maintaining a residence and business premises within close proximity has lead to a thriving small business community in the vast metropolis that is Greater Bangkok. This thriving business community, coupled with many of the other positive factors associated with doing business in Thailand, has lead to a vibrant economy that remains conducive to further foreign investment by entrepreneurs and businesses seeking to derive economic benefits both in Thailand and throughout the Asian markets. Of possible importance to Americans resident abroad or those thinking of residing abroad are the issues noted above as well as those associated with ownership of Thai property or Thai real estate especially in the form of a Thai Condominium.

In Thailand, as well as throughout many jurisdictions in Asia, there are restrictions placed upon foreign ownership of real estate. Although there are provisions allowing for foreign ownership of Thai property in many cases it is difficult, if not impossible, for a foreign national to secure freehold title (referred to as Chanote title in Thailand) in Thai real property such as land. However, it may be possible for a foreign national in Thailand, such as an American Citizen, to conveniently secure freehold title to a Thai Condo if the provisions of various laws and regulations on this issue, such as the Thai Condominium Act, are adhered to. Meanwhile, a foreign national who owns a Condo in Thailand may be qualified to receive a Foreign House Registration Booklet (referred to as a Tabien Baan for Thais or a Foreign Tabien Baan, or Yellow Tabien Baan for foreign nationals). Taking the aforementioned factors into consideration, in conjunction with the fact that for American Citizens and American Companies in Thailand there may be benefits pursuant to the provisions of various legal instruments such as the US-Thai Treaty of Amity which may provide the privilege of virtually 100% ownership of a Company in Thailand with “National Treatment” for certain business undertakings, one is left with little doubt that there are tangible legal benefits which could be accrued to the favor of Americans resident in Thailand conducting business in the ASEAN region as well as the regions of Greater Asia. Therefore,  investing in what this blogger would refer to as a “Thai Pad” (which non-literally alludes to the IPad-like gadgets allowing for increasingly easy real time access to the internet as well as the exponentially beneficial combination of privileges accruing to owners of Thai property registered on a Yellow Tabien Baan in conjunction with the advantages which may be had for Americans resident abroad utilizing a Thai company certified under the US-Thai Amity Treaty) could prove to have been prudent by future analysts in both tangible as well as intangible terms.

For related information please see: US Company Registration.

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26th March 2011

Those who have been following this blog with any regularity will likely have noticed that the administration has been attempting to follow the developments unfolding throughout the world as a consequence of the recent nuclear crisis in Japan. One way of monitoring the global response to radiation contamination is through following developing regulatory policies regarding the importation of Japanese products by countries outside of Japan.  In a recent posting on this blog the administration noted the fact that the authorities in many member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) had imposed restrictions upon imported Japanese foodstuffs. The same could also be said for some member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.  To quote directly from the website FocusTaiwan.tw:

Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Taiwan suspended imports of food products Friday from five Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, where a nuclear power plant was damaged by a powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami March 11.

Minister of Health Chiu Wen-ta said all safety inspections of food entering the country from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba — which have all reported widespread radioactive contamination — had been suspended, effectively barring all entry of food from those areas.

The administration of this blog highly recommends that readers click upon the two hyperlinks directly above this citation to read the entire article. As evidence continues to show an increasingly distressing situation in Japan it was also noted that Mainland Chinese officials have implemented new policies regarding food imports from Japan. To quote directly from the website DailyTimes.com.pk:

BEIJING: China banned imports of some Japanese food products on Friday amid fears of radiation contamination, hours after announcing that two Japanese travellers who had flown into an eastern city were found to have radiation levels well above safety limits.[sic]

China joins a growing list of countries that have stopped imports of some foodstuffs from Japan. The ban covers dairy, aquatic and vegetable products as well as fruit from the five Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, Chiba, China’s quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in a statement…

Readers are highly encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read this enlightening piece in full. Clearly Chinese officials are joining their counterparts around the world in a trend of placing increasingly stringent restrictions on Japanese imports. More importantly, it would seem that authorities in China have also reported that two Japanese travelers showed signs of alarming levels of radiation upon arrival from Tokyo.  To quote further from the aforementioned piece:

Separately, the quality watchdog said that two Japanese travellers who flew into China’s eastern city of Wuxi from Tokyo on Wednesday had radiation levels that “seriously exceeded the limit”. [sic]

Clearly, as evidenced by the quotations above, the Chinese authorities are apprised of what appears to be an increasingly serious situation in Japan and are taking appropriate measures.

As the ramifications of this tragedy come into clearer focus concerns mount as to the long term consequences of the Japanese crisis. Meanwhile, concerned people around the world continue to watch as the Japanese people struggle to overcome what could prove to be the most daunting crisis ever to befall a modern nation-state.

For related information please see: business in China or business in Taiwan.

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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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25th November 2009

The Thai Ministry of Labour seems to be preparing for a major overhaul of the Thai work permit rules. Currently, Thai work permit regulations are relatively straightforward and the process is not particularly cumbersome. However, it would appear that new rules will be put into effect in the beginning of 2010. The following is a brief overview of the proposed rules and requirements.

Currently, there is a list of jobs that foreigners can and cannot engage in, an updated list of the types of employment which foreign nationals will be permitted to engage in will be promulgated on or before February 23, 2010. Pursuant to recent drafts of the updated Ministerial Regulations on the kinds of work that foreign nationals are permitted to engage in, these updated rules and will impact on currently valid work permits as they will be reevaluated upon extension.

The new protocols will force foreign nationals, when submitting a request for a work permit to be issued or renewed, to explain both the type of work (apparently, there will be between six and eight employment categories) and the actual job title that the foreign national will apply for.

Information regarding Ministry approved positions will not be available to the public as only officers at the Thai Ministry of Labour will have the list of approved positions. This list will be in an “internal guidebook,” which will only be distributed within the Ministry.

If a foreigner applies for a position that is not listed in the Ministry’s “internal guidebook,” the application will likely be denied. The foreign national may submit a new application but it will be placed under heavy scrutiny by the officers.

The sponsoring company’s business plan will also be required as well evidence showing that the company attempted to employ a Thai national in the position, but was unsuccessful in finding anyone to fill the role.

It should be noted that although these new rules will not have a direct affect upon one’s Thailand visa, failure to obtain a Thai work permit before one’s visa extension application is due could result in an inability to obtain a new visa extension and thereby cause the foreigner to fall out of status. For those staying in Thailand on a business visa, it may be wise to keep an eye upon the work permit rules as these rule changes will likely affect a foreigner’s ability to remain in the Kingdom in their current position. Those who own a company in Thailand should stay abreast of the rules as they could have a major impact upon a company’s human resources department.

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