June 2024 / Thailand

June 28 2024

Foreign Investment in Thailand Is on the Rise

A total of 317 foreign companies received approval to invest in Thailand under the Foreign Business Act during the first five months of 2024. The foreign investment in the period reached 71,702 million baht, representing an increase of 58 percent in value and 16 percent in volume over the same period of 2023.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Karom Polpornklang stated that, from January to May this year, Japan was the largest group of foreign investors in Thailand, with 84 projects (40,214 million baht). Singapore came second, with 51 projects (5,189 million baht), followed by the United States, 50 projects (1,196 million baht), China, 38 projects (5,485 million baht), and Hong Kong, 28 projects (12,048 million baht).

During this period, 99 foreign investors, accounting for 31 percent of the total foreign investors in Thailand, showed interest in investing in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The foreign investment value was 18,224 million baht, accounting for 25 percent of the total value of foreign investment during the five-month period.

Among the 99 foreign investors, 31 were from Japan (3,523 million baht), 19 from China (1,803 million baht), 11 from Hong Kong (5,005 million baht), and 38 from other countries (7,893 million baht).

Previously, the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) reported that the value of applications for investment promotion in Thailand in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 31 percent to 228,207 million baht (USD 6.2 billion) over the same period of 2023.

From January to March 2024, domestic and foreign investors filed a total of 724 project applications to BOI, an increase of 94 percent over the same period of last year. Out of this number, 460 projects involved foreign investment.

The Deputy Government Spokesperson said that the upward trend reflects Thailand's potential and investor confidence and that it was a result of the Government’s efforts to attract leading companies worldwide to invest more in Thailand.

The sector that saw the highest value of investment applications in the first quarter was the electronics and electrical appliances industry, followed by automotive and parts, petrochemicals and chemicals, digital, and agriculture and food processing.

Source: The Government Public Relations Department

June 6 2024

Thai Government Launches New Visas to Attract Global Talent

The Thai government has initiated a strategic plan to transform Thailand into a hub for skilled foreign workers, enhance its economic competitiveness, and ensure sustained growth. Led by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, the initiative will lead to the introduction of several new visa categories to attract global talent.

Official data from the Board of Investment (BOI) reveals that Thailand has issued working visas and work permits to over 56,000 foreign experts engaged in projects that promote investment. Moreover, the Long-Term Resident (LTR) visa program now boasts over 4,000 holders from diverse countries, including the US, Russia, the UK, China, Germany, Japan, and France. This particular type of visa is designed for specialists, remote workers, wealthy individuals, and retirees with companions, offering perks such as a ten-year residency, substantial tax reductions for specialists, and less frequent immigration check-ins.

Government Spokesperson Chai Wacharonke revealed that there are currently 2,170 individuals with smart visas, attracting skilled professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs in key sectors, predominantly from the US, Russia, the UK, Japan, and Germany.

According to Chai, the forthcoming “Destination Thailand Visa” (DTV), slated for launch this month, is also expected to draw even more foreign nationals with digital skills, further enhancing Thailand's appeal as a destination for professionals.

To facilitate the arrival and integration of foreign talent, the BOI has collaborated with the Immigration Bureau and the Labor Ministry to establish the One Start One Stop Investment Center (OSOS) to simplify administrative procedures for foreign specialists and investors.

Source: The Government Public Relations Department

June 18 2024

OECD invites Thailand to start the Accession Discussion

On 17 June 2024, the Council of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which comprises the permanent representatives to the OECD from its member countries, has decided to invite Thailand to start accession discussions, making Thailand an OECD candidate country.

The decision is a monumental step towards Thailand’s membership in the OECD, for which Thailand submitted the Letter of Intent on 12 February 2024. Going forward, Thailand and the OECD will draft the Accession Roadmap to set the goals, conditions and timeframe for the alignment to and implementation of relevant OECD’s instruments. When the Roadmap is successfully implemented, the OECD Council will consider inviting Thailand to become a member.

The decision attests to the fact that Thailand shares values and goals with OECD members; namely, democracy, rule of law, human rights and open and transparent market economy, and that Thailand conducts impactful economic diplomacy at all levels and has continuous and meaningful cooperation with the OECD. Moreover, the decision, taken by consensus among OECD members, also reflects close and cordial relations between the members and Thailand.

The accession process may take many years to complete. Nevertheless, from the early stages, various reforms will help Thailand attract more foreign investment, increase income, improve the living standard of the people, and also increase Thailand’s role in international policy-making. The Thai government is firmly committed to advancing the accession process towards its successful completion.  The process will be inclusive, involving all stakeholders, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Economic and Social Development Council as the focal agencies.

Source: Ministry of Foreing Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand

June 28 2024

Third round of negotiations for EU-Thailand FTA

The Thai Ministry of Commerce has reported that the third round of Thailand-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation just held in Bruxelles from 17-21 June has made progress, with the aim of finalizing the FTA by mid-2025.

The discussions included both head of delegation meetings and 20 expert subgroup sessions. Each group has outlined steps for further work, such as information and opinion exchanges and intersessional discussions, to ensure the timeline is met. Thailand will host the fourth round of negotiations in Bangkok on 4th of November, this year.

Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce has prioritized the FTA negotiations with the EU, as it considers a top government task. This will enhance Thailand's trade opportunities in the large and high-demand EU market, as well as attract investments from the EU and other countries seeking to benefit from exports to the EU. The private sectors from both sides have consistently pushed for these negotiations however the negotiations still face challenges from the inclusion of new issues, such as government procurement, state enterprises, competition, trade and sustainable development, energy, and raw materials. The Thai negotiating team from various agencies is prepared to move forward to reach a balanced and beneficial conclusion for the Thai economy.

In 2023, the EU was Thailand's fifth-largest trading partner, following ASEAN, China, the United States, and Japan. Trade between Thailand and the EU was valued at USD 41.58 billion, an increase of 1.43% from the previous year. Thailand's exports to the EU amounted to USD 21.84 billion, a decrease of 4.21%, while imports from the EU were valued at USD 19.74 billion, an increase of 8.50%. For the first five months (January-May 2024), trade between Thailand and the EU totaled USD 17.98 billion, an increase of 1.58% from the same period of the previous year. Thailand's exports to the EU were valued at USD 9.82 billion, an increase of 3.75%, and imports from the EU were valued at USD 8.16 billion, a decrease of 0.92%.

Source: Thailand Department of Trade Negotiations