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Thailand Treaty of Amity Company

For the small business owner in Thailand there seem to be few breaks, legally speaking. As a rule, foreigners are barred from owning a majority stake in a Thai limited company. Should a foreigner acquire a majority of the shares in a company then it is likely that the company will need to obtain a foreign business license before business transactions may legally take place. These restrictions lead to the need for setting up a company which is Thai majority owned, but in which the Thai and foreign owners share day-to-day control. For many, this type of arrangement is unacceptable for a number of reasons. For American Citizens there is another method of incorporating a business in Thailand: the Treaty of Amity. By utilizing the Treaty of Amity in Thailand, the American Citizen owner can own his company virtually outright and not need to abide by the restrictions imposed by the foreign business act. This eliminates the need for Thai majority shareholders and legal circumventions, because foreign ownership of the company using this method is fully disclosed and perfectly legal under Thai law.

The USA- Thailand Treaty of Amity can be a major advantage for those expatriates and international investors wishing to do business in Thailand. In short, the Treaty of Amity allows those companies that obtain Treaty certification to have American majority ownership. Let’s look at this again: An American can own a majority stake in a Thai limited company so long as the company is certified under the Amity Treaty between Thailand and the US.

With the recent changes in Thailand’s business laws allowing a company to incorporate with only three shareholders, now an American can own virtually all of the share minus 2, one share for each of the other two shareholders. An even greater benefit is the fact that under the Treaty of Amity ALL shareholders could conceivably be American. This is a great consolation to those who feel uneasy about having shares in their company owned by someone they do not fully trust, for instance a family business of which all the members are American Citizens, this type of structure would allow that family to own all of the shares in a limited company even though none among their number are Thai Nationals.

Some speculation arises about the current status of the Thai US Treaty of Amity, but suffice it to say, the Amity Treaty is still in force in both the USA and Thailand and shall likely remain that way in the near future. 

To learn more please see: Amity Treaty


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