Incentives to invest
The Board of Investment's comprehensive service offering enhances Thailand's strong base of economic fundamentals
Thailand has been moving up the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. Currently it is positioned 17th out of 183 nations and rated the third easiest place to do business in Asia.
In the latest World Investment Prospects Survey released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Thailand has moved from 15th place to 11th.
The Southeast Asian nation has a lot to offer UK companies. It boasts a well-developed infrastructure, modernised transportation facilities, and upgraded IT and communication systems.
Its industrial estates are state-of-the-art and its workforce skilled, dedicated and low cost.
The latter include agriculture and agro-industries, metalworking and minerals, light industries, chemicals and petrochemicals, electrical and electronics, services and public utilities.
All projects receive benefits. However additional incentives are available for priority activities, producing for export and projects in special investment promotion zones.
Priority activities are granted an eight-year corporate tax exemption and exemption of import duties on machinery regardless of location.
Additional incentives are offered for investment in skills training, technology and innovation. There are special incentives for the manufacture of eco-friendly material and products, such as bioplastics, energy saving and alternative energy projects, and high technology activities, such as industrial electronics, electronic parts for vehicles, biotechnology and nanotechnology.
There are three designated investment zones. Zone 1 comprises mostly metropolitan Bangkok and its vicinities, Zone 2 is the greater area in Central Thailand, and Zone 3 comprises 58 provinces in the north, south and east. The areas in Zone 3 are less developed and investors setting up there receive higher incentives.
Non-tax privileges offered to investors include permission to own land, and to bring foreign experts to work on the promoted projects, and exemption from work permit and visa rules. There is no restriction on foreign equity in manufacturing and 100 per cent foreign ownership is permitted in many services.
The BOI offers investors a range of business-related services, from help with obtaining licenses and permits to the identification of potential investment projects and joint venture partners.
As of 2009, the bureau offers an even more convenient service thanks to the One Start One Stop Investment Centre (OSOS). Located in Bangkok’s central business district, OSOS has staff members from more than 20 agencies on hand to assist investors with procedural matters and help them understand what is needed to register a company, obtain investment promotion privileges, obtain a foreign business license, complete an environmental impact assessment, etc.
Thanks to OSOS, investors can have all their questions answered in one place, and the government can be more flexible and responsive to investor needs.
PROJECT TEAM: Alisdair Jones, Vanessa Massimini and Christian Carter