According to Foreign Buseinss Act 1999, it is prohibited for Foreigners to operate certain types of businesses. However there are certain types of businesses that foreigners are permitted to own and operate. These businesses require obtaining a License approval from the Director-General and/or the approval of the local Cabinet by the Minister in the Government Gazette.
Foreigners who intend to carry out the types of business mentioned in lists Two and Three below must apply for the Foreign Business License by completing the business operation application form. Additionally, Foreigners intending to carry out business that is outside of the scope of the Guidelines provided by the Foreign Business Committee are still able to apply for the license. In these cases the Foreign Business Committee will consider the application on a case-by-case basis.
There are also Certificates issued from the Director-General for Foreigners to operate businesses in Thailand under certain treaty regulations that obligate Thailand to comply with the provisions of the treaty, which may in return include the entitlement of Thai nationals and Thai enterprises to operate businesses in the reciprocal nations. Your business might fall under the protections of these treaties. Contact us to find out.
In the Foreign Business Act 1999,
(1) Natural person not of Thai nationality.
(2) Juristic person not registered in Thailand.
(3) Juristic person registered in Thailand having the following characteristics.
(a) Having half or more of the juristic person’s capital shares held by persons under (1) or (2) or a juristic person having the persons under (1) or (2) investing with a value of half or more of the total capital of the juristic parson.
(b) Limited partnership or registered ordinary partnership having the person under (1) as the managing partner or manager.
(4) Juristic person registered in Thailand having half or more of its capital shares held by the person under (1), (2) or (3), or a juristic person having the persons under (1), (2) or (3) investing with the value of half or more of its total capital.
List of Businesses that are prohibited or permitted under certain circumstances:
1. List One: Foreigners shall be prohibited from operating the following types of businesses:
(1) Newspaper business, radio broadcasting or television station business.
(2) Rice farming, farming or gardening.
(3) Animal farming.
(4) Forestry and wood fabrication from natural forest.
(5) Fishery for marine animals in Thai waters and within Thailand specific economic zones.
(6) Extraction of Thai herbs.
(7) Trading and auctioning Thai antiques or national historical objects.
(8) Making or casting Buddha images and monk alms bowls.
(9) Land trading.
2. List Two: Foreigners shall be prohibited from operating any business concerning national safety and security, business affecting art and culture, tradition and folk handicraft or the business affecting natural resources or environment.
Group 1: The businesses related to the national safety or security
(1) Production, selling, repairing and maintenance of:
(a) firearms, ammunition, gun powder, explosives.
(b) Accessories of firearms, ammunition, and explosives.
(c) Armaments, ships, air-craft or military vehicles.
(d) Equipment or components, all categories of war materials.
(2) Domestic land, waterway or air transportation, including domestic airline business.
Group 2: The businesses affecting arts and culture traditional and folk handicraft:
(1) Trading antiques or art objects being Thai arts and handicraft.
(2) Production of carved wood.
(3) Silkworm farming, production of Thai silk yarn, weaving Thai silk or Thai silk pattern printing.
(4) Production of Thai musical instruments.
(5) Production of goldware, silverware, nielloware, bronzeware or lacquerware.
(6) Production of crockery of Thai arts and culture.
Group 3: The businesses affecting natural resources or environment:
(1) Manufacturing sugar from sugarcane;
(2) Salt farming, including underground salt;
(3) Rock salt mining;
(4) Mining, including rock blasting or crushing;
(5) Wood fabrication for furniture and utensil production.
3. List Three: Foreigners shall be prohibited from operating the businesses prescribed in List Three in which Thai nationals are not ready to compete unless permitted by the Director-General with the approval of the Committee;
(1) Rice milling and flour production from rice and farm produce.
(2) Fishery, specifically marine animal cultures.
(3) Forestry from forestation.
(4) Production of plywood, veneer board, chipboard or hardboard.
(5) Production of lime.
(6) Accounting service business.
(7) Legal service business.
(8) Architecture service business.
(9) Engineering service business.
(10) Construction, except for:
(a) Construction rendering basic services to the public in public utilities or transport requiring special tools, machinery, technology or construction expertise having the foreigners’ minimum capital of 500 million Baht or more.
(b) Other categories of construction as prescribed by the ministerial regulations.
(11) Broker or agent business, except:
(a) Being broken or agent for underwriting securities or services connected with future trading of commodities or financing instruments or securities.
(b) Being broker or agent for trading or procuring goods or services necessary for production or rendering services amongst affiliated enterprises.
(c) Being broker or agent for trading, purchasing or distributing or seeking both domestic and foreign markets for selling domestically manufactured or imported goods in the manner of international business operations having the foreigners’ minimum capital 100 million Baht or more.
(d) Being broker or agent of other category as prescribed by the ministerial regulations.
(12) Auction, except:
(a) Auction in the manner of international bidding not being the auction of antiques, historical artifacts or art objects which are Thai works of arts, handicraft or antiques or having the historical value.
(b) Other categories of auction as prescribed by the ministerial regulations.
(13) Internal trade connected with native products or produce not yet prohibited by law.
(14) Retailing all categories of goods having the total minimum capital less than 100 million Baht or having the minimum capital of each shop less than 20 million Baht.
(15) Wholesaling all categories of goods having minimum capital of each shop less than 100 million Baht.
(16) Advertising business.
(17) Hotel business, except for hotel management service.
(18) Guided tour.
(19) Selling food or beverages.
(20) Plant cultivation and propagation business.
(21) Other categories of service business except that prescribed in the ministerial regulations.