Despite ‘one person, one company’ law draft, foreigners still can’t own businesses

A new draft law has been under review by the country’s Business Development Department that would allow a single person to own a company. However, as of now, that person can’t be a foreigner.

The draft has been called “one person, one company” and, if passed, it would mean that a single person can register a business in Thailand, something that has previously not been legal without Thai partners. Upon recent review of the draft, the department added to the proposed law that a sole foreigner can’t register, own or run a business on their own in the country.

This addition to the draft is designed to keep foreign businesses from competing against Thai companies in the long list of industries that the government has deemed reserved for Thai nationals only.

The director-general of the department, Pongpun Gearaviriyapun, said the department plans to propose the law, which will allow a single person to found a new company, to the Cabinet in the near future. The hope is that the new law could make businesses grow in the country.

Under current law, companies must have at least two partners to create a limited partner company and at least three to form a limited company.

According to Pongpun, the hope is that the new law could help to reduce costs and create fewer business disputes. She noted that, “If this law is enforced, the number of new businesses could double from the current 600,000 firms to 1.2 million. Thailand’s ranking in the World Bank’s competitiveness ranking, or Ease of Doing Business, should improve,” reported The Nation.

The department has been studying up on this type of law and, apparently, a dozen countries already use similar laws. They include the U.S, U.K., China, Singapore, Vietnam, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, New Zealand, India and Japan.

Thailand would be the third Asean nation to adopt such a law and, reportedly, Malaysia is considering it as well.

The next step in passing the law is a public hearing process. If the response is positive, the department aims to see the Cabinet fast-track the process so that the law can be put into effect next year.


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