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Doing Business in Thailand: AMCHAM Legal Forum

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Doing Business in Thailand: AMCHAM Legal Forum | The Thaiger

PHUKET: AMCHAM will hold a forum titled ‘Doing Business in Thailand – 3 Things You Should Know’, on Thursday, November 29, at Royal Phuket Marina.

Three top international lawyers will be on hand to talk about how to do business without Thai nominees, enforcing contracts through arbitration, and the increasing focus on criminal corrupt practices and anti-corruption laws.

The event is open to the public, and is free of charge.

The American Chamber of Commerce Legal Committee is heading up the event in conjunction with AMCHAM’s Greater Phuket Chapter. Anyone doing business on the island, and others simply wishing to be up to date on current legislation impacting nearly everyone, should attend.

The speakers are:

Douglas Mancill. A partner in Price Sanond, and resident in Thailand for 14 years. Qualified in California, he practiced law in that state for 13 years before his secondment to Thailand. He has been chair of AMCHAM Thailand’s Legal Committee for the past five years.

Michael Ramirez. A senior consultant in Tilleke & Gibbins Dispute Resolution Group, where he assists clients in a wide range of domestic and international disputes. In addition to representing clients in commercial litigation, He and his team of litigators represent major international businesses and their principals in white-collar crime disputes. The work includes corporate investigations, pre- and post-charge inquiries, and subsequent litigation. Michael also serves as an adviser on the strategic aspects of claims management in international litigation cases; cross-jurisdictional disputes; and compliance with international anti-corruption laws, including the American Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Olaf Duensing. Licensed to practice law in Germany and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb). Working in Thailand for 11 years as a legal consultant, Olaf lectured at the summer law program of the Golden Gate University, San Francisco, in Bangkok in 2004 and 2007. In 2010, he co-founded the legal advisory and services firm Duensing Kippen Ltd, whose core practice specializations include domestic and international corporate/commercial real estate and construction matters, as well as domestic litigation and international arbitration proceedings.

Registration at the RPM Conference Room (near Les Anges) starts at 4pm. The program begins at 4:30pm and will wrap up by 6pm. A networking reception follows, sponsored by Royal Phuket Marina.

To register for the event, contact Sheree Tanpensuk by email, sheree@amchamthailand.com, or telephone her on 02-254 1041, ext 212.



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Thailand Post’s no-go list

The Thaiger

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Thailand Post’s no-go list | The Thaiger

Twenty years ago postal services were thought to he going out of fashion as email and social media began to replace people sending letters in the post. But that’s all changed now as online retail services are making the world’s postal services busier than ever. Including Thailand Post.

If you’re wishing to avoid problems with Thailand Post and would like to know what you should’t be putting in the mail, this story is for you. At the top of Thailand Post’s warnings, senders are advised not to lend their ID cards (or passports) to strangers to mail their packages.

Thailand Post have issued the guidelines after police found that drug traffickers are increasingly resorting to postal services to send narcotics to their customers, after several major drug shipments, being transported in vehicles, were intercepted by police.

The managing director of state-run Thailand Post, Samorn Therdthampiboon, says the company’s post offices have intensified the screening of parcels to prevent unscrupulous senders from mailing prohibited items.

Senders are required to show their ID cards (or passports), and CCTV systems have been installed in all post offices. There are also X-ray scanners to look for explosives and flammable materials as part of the increased security measures.

There are seven types of items prohibited from being sent by mail…

  • Live animals
  • Narcotics (illegal drugs)
  • Pornographic material
  • Explosives or flammable substances
  • Unsheathed knives or other sharp objects
  • Banknotes
  • Fake products which infringe intellectual property rights

(We would add Durian but that’s still legal!)

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Unregistered hotels and lodgings told to get their paperwork in order, or close down

The Thaiger

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Unregistered hotels and lodgings told to get their paperwork in order, or close down | The Thaiger

At least 5,000 of the country’s estimated 23,000 unregistered small hotels are expected to get their paperwork in order. The rush to action follows the announcement by the current government to register and comply with the Hotel Act, or be closed down.

Most of Thailand’s busy tourist spots are rampant with small and illegal lodgings for tourists. Whilst the growth of registered hotels has rushed to keep pace with the rising tourist numbers, so too has been the rise of unlicensed properties in Thailand’s hot tourist spots.

The order was made through the controversial Article 44 powers which doesn’t provide for debate or parliamentary endorsement. When announced last week the Thai PM said the order was aimed at bringing illegal hotels and accommodation service providers under better control and boost safety and reliability for guests.

The order will require smaller, unregistered accommodations to comply with the same regulations as properly registered hotels – building regulations, room sizes, the amount of fire extinguishers required, fire escapes, standards of accommodation, accounting standards, etc. The government says there will be a period given – up to 90 days – for properties to operate whilst they get their compliance and standards up to date.

Authorities are also reportedly planning amendments of the Hotel Act to bring room-sharing platforms like Airbnb under a legislative framework. Currently the act allows accommodation offerings with less than four rooms to operate without a hotel licence.

A law-firm has, in English, gone through the steps needed for unregistered accommodation to comply with the Hotel Act….

How to obtain a hotel license in due course

A hotel is defined under the Hotel Act 2004 as any business providing paid accommodation for less than a month, irrespectively of the number or capacity of the rooms. Even the smallest villa and a one-bedroom condominium unit can qualify as a hotel under the law. However, the Hotel Act legitimises ministerial regulations to regulate this otherwise.

To successfully apply for a hotel business application, in general, these seven steps are required:

Step 1: Is the business exempted under the 4-20 privilege? An application is only needed if (i) the business qualifies as a hotel and (ii) such hotel is not license-free. Under the Ministerial Regulation 2008, a hotel license is not required if the business

  • has not more than four rooms on all floors in all buildings,
  • has a total service capacity of no more than twenty guests,
  • qualifies as a small business which provides an additional source of income for the owner, and
  • reports its daily rental business to the government (hotel registrar).

If the business is in-line with these requirements, it is unclear whether it does not qualify as a hotel (“no hotel”) or whether it is a license-free hotel business (“type-zero hotel”). The latest court decisions seem to favor the latter interpretation.

  • Type 0: hotels which are exempted from certain requirements including the need to obtain a hotel business license,
  • Type 1: hotels providing accommodation only, the number of rooms does not exceed fifty, the size of each room is not less than eight square meters,
  • Type 2: hotels providing accommodation and catering or restaurant services, the size of each room is not less than eight square meters,
  • Type 3: hotels giving accommodation, catering or restaurant services, the size of each room is not less than 14 square meters, and which has either conference rooms or entertainment venues which under the Place of Service Act could be a place for dancing, bars, and nightclubs or spa,
  • Type 4: hotels providing accommodation, catering or restaurant services, conference rooms, and entertainment venues, the size of each room is not less than 14 square meters.

For Type 3 and 4 hotels, no entertainment venues will be allowed unless these hotels have more than 80 rooms, are located in entertainment areas, or serve food, alcohol or entertainment only, and have opening hours after midnight.

You can read a full explanation about compliance with the Thai Hotel Act HERE.

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Business

Thailand’s exports plunge 5.8% in May

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s exports plunge 5.8% in May | The Thaiger

Thai exports have declined 5.8% for the month of May 2019. The value of May’s exports is 648 billion baht.

The Commerce Ministry says in their report today that the contraction is mostly influenced by global factors including ongoing trade tensions between US and China and tighter global financial conditions, and specific factors of each country and region, political uncertainty in the EU and the unresolved Brexit in the UK.

“However, the effects on Thai exports are relatively less than those on other Asian countries” say the Commerce Ministry.

Thai exports still performed sturdily in main markets namely US and India and expanded in rising markets such as Canada, Russia and CIS (the post Soviet states).

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