Thailand To Open Industries Banned For Foreigners To Spur Innovation And Technology Transfer
Oct 04, 2019

Thailand’s commerce ministry is considering whether to remove certain innovation-related businesses from the list of those open only to Thai citizens, The Nation cited deputy director-general of the ministry’s department of business development, Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, as saying.

The idea is being floated as a way to increase foreign investment in Thailand, make the country more attractive for overseas companies, as well as address the lack of homegrown innovative industries.

Naiyanapakorn said the department may appeal to the foreign business committee for four innovation sectors to be removed from the list compiled under the Foreign Business Act 1999, namely telecommunication service providers without a dedicated network, treasury management centers, aircraft maintenance services for aircraft and their equipment and development of high value-added software.

The move would facilitate foreign investment in Thailand, making it easier and cheaper for non-Thai companies to be granted licenses to do business here, he noted, adding that “as a result, it should invite more funds and future investments from foreign partners, as well as help boost the country’s innovation-related industries to an international standard.”

These four businesses are in alignment with the government’s ten target industries to drive the country’s economic growth, especially aircraft servicing and software development.

“By making them more accessible to foreign investors, it should help Thailand to become an innovation and economic hub of ASEAN and move us closer toward the Thailand 4.0 target,” Naiyanapakorn said.

Since January this year, 155 foreign companies have been granted licenses to conduct business in Thailand, generating more than 21 billion baht ($685 million) in investment, according to the department. The fields they operate in are, among others, off-shore rig engineering, petroleum drilling, electrical and electronic systems, information technology, accounting, financial, organisational development, digital payment solutions, private construction and retail.