The Thai government has long maintained a policy of an open and inviting environment for foreign investment in their business sectors. The two main governmental agencies that are chartered with the goal of attracting foreign investors are the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT).

The BOI is empowered by the Thai government to attract investments in a wide range of industries, especially alternative energy, high tech, ecologically oriented industries and large projects involving tourism, logistics and agriculture. They offer several programs that involve tax incentives and the ability for foreigners to own land and act as the sole proprietor of their business interests. Tax incentives are generally structured to apply greater incentives to locate businesses outside of the greater Bangkok area.

The IEAT’s main focus is on developing policies involving the allocation of land to business sectors and providing investors with access to industrial parks that have sufficient infrastructure, energy, utilities and an available workforce. Working closely with the IEAT and the BOI enable most foreign investors and business owners to access work permits for their foreign staff members, to move foreign currency easily through the Thai banking system and enjoy exemptions from import duties on machinery and equipment.

The process for applying for special BOI incentives typically takes about 3 months. BOI executives are more than willing to work hand in hand as advisors in a support mode during this process. Once a company has been granted a BOI sponsored promotion, it must register within 6 months or risk losing its BOI privileges.

In general, if one is considering investing in a business in Thailand, The BOI is the best place to start. They will be able to advise you on the types of incentives available, explain their promotions, and direct individuals to agencies and support organisations such as the IEAT, legal and tax specialists, and industrial estate management teams that can help find the right location for the type of business being considered. A little bit of research, communication and investment of one’s time can yield large dividends for those considering setting up shop in Thailand.

Stay tune for the next segment on doing business in Thailand, more useful tips and news for you to start a business in Thailand.