A brief summary of recent legal developments in Thailand affecting doing business in the country follows.
In January 2017, the Bank of Thailand and the Finance Ministry announced the launch of PromptPay, which allows individuals to make interbank transfers of funds. Money transfers from government to consumers under PromptPay were implemented in late 2016. The Thai Bankers' Association announced plans for a new five-year strategy including digitisation and next-generation payment infrastructure, financial inclusion, contribution to society, regional integration and legal and regulatory enabling.
New 10-year retirement visas
The government has approved the extension of long-stay visas for foreigners aged over 50 years old for 10 years, instead of one year. This extension is subject to meeting certain financial criteria, for example, a monthly income of at least THB100,000 ($3,000) or a bank account with THB3 million deposited.
The Directors' Liability Amendment Act 2017 amended 76 other laws on criminal liabilities of company directors and executives, offering better protection to directors. It shifted the burden of proof back to public prosecutors, but directors need to demonstrate that they have exercised due diligence as a director.
Pending bill on single-shareholder private companies
In January 2017, the Cabinet approved a draft bill to allow a single promoter (instead of three) to register a limited company.
In September 2016, the Department of Business Development (DBD) issued an announcement providing details relating to teleconferencing by limited companies. Provision for teleconferencing should be incorporated in the articles of association of the company. At least one-third of the quorum must be present at the meeting venue, and all meeting participants must be in Thailand (not abroad).
New requirements for e-registration
The DBD issued an announcement in 2017 on procedures to apply for e-registration. The DBD will use e-registration as a platform to provide full electronic services for company registration and filings; from company registration and amendments to dissolution and liquidation. The DBD already provides for filing of financial statements via e-filing. The DBD has started accepting applications for usernames and passwords. The DBD wishes to fully implement e-registration in April 2017. Some questions remain concerning implementation, for which the DBD will be issuing clarifications.
Secured Transactions Act
Until July 2016, Thai law governing security was rather old fashioned: mortgage, pledge or right of retention, or a creditor possessing preferential rights in the nature of a pledge. The new law provides for new security interests equivalent to a floating charge, and for registration online. Parties enter a business collateral agreement, which is registered online. Security recipients must be financial institutions that are allowed by the Bank of Thailand. The Act introduces a new enforcement procedure by a 'security enforcer'.
|Albert T Chandler|