In our News & Events section we share with you the latest legal developments in Thailand, and we invite you to browse through our News Archive for any past stories and articles of interest to you.
Additionally, pertinent information regarding recent events involving SCL Law Group and its member firms can be found on this page, including recent group and individual firm news, as well as important updates related to our firms and staff.
Embracing Diversity in the ASEAN Economic Community
27 August 2015, Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore
To celebrate its first anniversary, ASEAN Plus Group organised a conference on “Embracing Diversity in the ASEAN Economic Community”. The aim of the conference was to provide industry players with first hand insight into the potential growth opportunities and challenges that the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015 has to offer. This conference was attended by over 100 representatives from various industries in Singapore; predominantly from Singapore SMEs.
On this occasion, our Managing Director, Mr. Chavalit Uttasart, was on one of the panels for the discussion on the subject of ‘Preparing for the Integration: Where are we Right now?’ There was also Mr. Nizam Ismail from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing (Singapore) and Mr. Benjamin Li from Lee & Li (Vietnam) on the same panel.
Mr. Chavalit Uttasart updated the audience on several significant legislations in Thailand that have been amended in order to facilitate the implementation of the AEC, as follows:
Free Flow of Goods (AEC Blueprint Article 1): this emphasises the free flow of goods focused on to eliminating Non-Tariff barriers. Some of the laws that are currently in place are listed below:
Free Flow of Services (AEC Blueprint Article 2)
There will be fundamentally no restrictions to ASEAN service suppliers in providing services and in establishing companies across national borders within the region, subject to domestic regulations.
Free Flow of Investment (AEC Blueprint Article 3)
In the Framework Agreement on the ASEAN Investment Area (AIA), AD 1998 (BE 2563), certain industries shall be open and national treatment shall be granted to investors with some exceptions.
Foreign Business Act 1999 (2542) FBA
By relying on the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), each member country shall liberalise most sectors and modes of supply but may issue regulations to control the quality of the services.
Based on AFAS, Thailand has amended the Annex attached to the FBA in order to increase the percentage of foreign shareholding in companies carrying on different sectors of business.
Free Flow of Skilled Labour (AEC Blueprint Article 5)
The Foreign Work Permit Act AD 2008 (BE 2551) imposes certain restrictions.
The Investment Promotion Act AD 1987 (BE 2520) allows skilled labour and experts to work in BOI promoted companies.
Intellectual Property Right (IPR) (AEC Blueprint Article B3)
The laws in each ASEAN country/member state are different:
To illustrate this point, Thailand copyright law imposes criminal penalties on copyright piracy on a commercial scale; whereas in other countries copyright law imposes criminal penalties on copyright piracy if the infringement is significant or the infringer commits the act in order to obtain a commercial advantage.
E-Commerce (AEC Blueprint Article B6)
Copyright Act AD 1994 (BE 2537) has no provision on the liability of an ISP.
Copyright Act AD 2015 (BE 2558) (No. 2) and (No. 3), which came into force on 4 August 2015, introduces:
Trademarks Act AD 1991 (2534) (Blueprint Article B3 – IPR)
Thailand has yet to amend the law to comply with the Madrid Protocol.
Effective 2 May 2015.
International headquarters (IHQ).
A regional operating headquarters (ROH) can be converted into an IHQ.
A company registered in Thailand
Baht 10 million capital (approximately USD 450,000) as operating expenses in one accounting year
Application filed with and approved by the Director General of RD
Any of the three main services must be provided to associated enterprises established under foreign laws:
International Trade Company/Centres (ITC)
Key factors of businesses qualifying for an ITC
Key conditions to apply for an ITC under Thai Law
This panel discussion gave the audience a good review of the readiness of Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as recent legal and regulatory developments in the region. There was a very good response from the audience and we are very proud that our Managing Partner was part of this event.
This get together with other APG members is definitely a positive move towards enhancing our presence, both in Thailand and the ASEAN region. We very much look forward to welcoming the AEC at the end of this year.
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