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Foreign Business Act
B.E. 2542 (1999)
Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rex.
Given on this 24th day of November B.E. 2542 (1999)
Being the 54th year if the present reign.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej has been pleasantly pleased to proclaim that it was expedient to improve the law governing the business operation of foreigners.
This Act has some provisions relating to the restriction of the rights and liberty of individuals but by implication of Section 29 in conjunction with Section 35 and Section 50 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, the restriction can be implemented by virtue of the law.
By and with the advice and concurrence of the Parliament, His Majesty the King graciously ordered the enactment of this Act as follows:
Section 1. This Act shall be called the "Foreign Business Act 1999".
Section 2. This Act shall come into force immediately after the lapse of the 90 day period that commences on the date of its publication in the Government Gazette.
Section 3. The following shall be repealed:
(1) Announcement No. 281 of the National Executive Council dated November 24, 1972.
(2) The Act of 1978 amending Announcement No. 281 of the National Executive Council dated November 24, 1972.
(3) Act No. 2 of 1992 amending Announcement No. 281 of the National Executive Council dated November 24, 1972.
Section 4. In this Act:
(1) Natural person not of Thai nationality.
(2) Juristic person not registered in Thailand.
(3) Juristic person registered in Thailand having the follow-ing 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 person.
(b) Limited partnership or registered ordinary partner-ship 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.
For the purpose of the definitions, the shares of a limited company represented by share certificates that are issued to bearers shall be deemed as the shares of aliens unless otherwise provided by ministerial regulations.
"Capital" means the registered capital of a limited company or paid-up capital of a public limited company or the money invested in a partnership or juristic person by its partners or its members.
"Minimum Capital" means the capital of the foreigners in the case where the foreigners are juristic persons registered in Thailand and, in the case where the foreigners are juristic persons not registered in Thailand or natural persons, it shall mean the foreign currencies that the foreigners bring in and use at the commencement of the business operation in Thailand.
"Business" means the business operation in agriculture, industry, handicraft, commerce, service or other dealings for business purpose.
"License" means a business operation license.
"Licensee" means a foreigner who has obtained the License.
"Certificate" means a business operation certificate.
"Certificate Grantee" means a foreigner who has obtained the Certificate.
"Committee" means the Foreign Business Committee.
"Competent Official" means a person appointed by the Minister to undertake actions in compliance with this Act.
"Registrar" means a person appointed by the Minister as a foreign business registrar.
"Director-General" means the Director-General of Commercial Registration Department.
"Minister" means the Minister in charge of this Act.
Section 5. In permitting the foreigners to operate the businesses under this Act, the advantages and disadvantages to the nation's safety and security, economic and social development, public order or good moral, art, culture and tradition of the country, natural resource conservation, energy and environment, consumer protection, size of the enterprises, employment, technology transfer, and research and development shall be taken into account.
Section 6. The following foreigners shall be prohibited from operating any business in Thailand:
(1) Foreigners deported or pending deportation.
(2) Foreigners staying in Thailand without permission under the law governing immigrants or other laws.
Section 7. The following foreigners may operate businesses upon obtaining a License from the Director-General and may operate only certain businesses and in the locality announced with the approval of the Cabinet by the Minister in the Government Gazette. The Minister may prescribe any condition deemed expedient in the notification.
(1) Foreigners born in Thailand but not granted Thai nationality under the law governing nationality or other laws.
(2) A person who becomes a foreigner as a consequence of his nationality being revoked under the law governing nationality or other laws.
The application for a License, the issuance of the license and the period of permission shall be in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed in the ministerial regulations.
In the case where the Director-General does not permit a foreigner under paragraph one to operate the business, the foreigner shall be entitled to lodge an appeal with the Minister and the provisions of paragraphs one and three of section 20 shall be applicable mutatis mutandis.
Section 8. Subject to Section 6, Section 7 Section 10, and Section 12
(1) Foreigners shall be prohibited from operating the business not permitted to them with special reasons as described in List One.
(2) 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 as prescribed in List Two unless permitted by the Minister with the approval of the Cabinet.
(3) 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
Section 9. Amendments or changes of the business categories under the Lists attached hereto shall be made by a royal decree except for the businesses under List Two, Group 1, in which case the amendments or changes shall be made by an act of parliament.
The Committee shall review the business categories under the Lists attached hereto at least once every one-year period from the date this Act comes into force and shall submit its opinion to the Cabinet.
The foreigners who has operated the business not prescribed in List Two or List Three prior to the amendments or changes of business category under paragraph one and later on that business requires a permission under this Act and the foreigners wish to continue operating that business shall notify the Director-General in order to obtain a Certificate in accordance with the rules and procedure described in Section 11.
During the period prescribed in paragraph three and while the Certificate has not been obtained, the foreigners shall not be deemed as non-licensed business operators under this Act.
Section 10. The provisions of Section 5, Section 8, Section 15, Section 17, and Section 18 shall not be applicable to the foreigners operating the business that are classified in the Lists attached hereto with a temporary permission from the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand.
The foreigners operating the business classified in the attached Lists under a treaty to which Thailand is a party or is obligated to abide by it shall be exempt from the application of the Sections stated in paragraph one and shall comply with the provisions of the treaty which may in return include the entitlement of the Thai nationals and Thai enterprises to operate the businesses in the country of the foreigners.
Section 11. The foreigners qualified under Section 10 wishing to operate the business under the attached Lists shall notify the Director-General under the rules and procedures prescribed in the ministerial regulations in order to obtain a Certificate. The Director-General shall issue the Certificates to the foreigners rapidly but shall not exceed 30 days from the date on which the written notification is filed, unless the Director-General is of the opinion that the notification does not comply with the rules and procedures prescribed in the ministerial regulations or is not in accordance with Section 10. The Director-General shall in that case promptly notify the foreigners within 30 days of the date on which the written notification is filed.
The Certificates shall also specify the conditions prescribed by the Government or the treaty.
Section 12. In the case where the business of a foreigner that is promoted under the investment promotion law or permitted in writing to operate the industry or trade for export under the law governing the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand or other laws are classified in List Two or List Three attached hereto, the foreigner shall notify the Director-General in order to obtain a Certificate. After the Director-General or his assigned Competent Official has examined the validity of the investment promotion certificate or the permit, the Director-General shall issue the Certificate rapidly but shall not exceed 30 days from the date on which he is notified of the acquisition of the investment promotion certificate or the permit as the case may be. In such case, the foreigner shall be exempted from the implication of this Act, except for Section 21, Section 22, Section 39, Section 40, and Section 42, throughout the period that the business is investment promoted or permitted for the export industry or trade operation as the case may be.
The issuance of the Certificate under paragraph one shall be in accordance with the rules and procedures prescribed by the Director-General.
Section 13. In the case where the provisions of other laws regulate shareholding, foreigners' partnership or investment, permission or prohibition for the foreigners in operating certain businesses or prescribe rules on the foreigner's business operation, the laws shall prevail and the provisions of this Act shall not be applicable to the areas that the other laws specifically govern.