US-Thai Treaty of Amity Company
The U.S.-Thailand Amity Treaty has promoted U.S. Thai trade relations since 1966. The treaty requires the Thai government to give businesses owned and run by American investors national treatment. This exempts American businesses from most of the regulations mandated by the Alien Business Law of 1972.
For a company to be eligible for Amity Treaty Status, at least 50% of its directors and 51% of its shareholders must be American citizens. This restriction applies to all parent companies as well. The U.S.-Thailand Amity Treaty does not apply to the following industries:
- Land Ownership
- Inland Transport
- Inland Communication
- Natural Resource Exploitation
- Commercial Banking
- Services Involving a Fiduciary Duty
The U.S. Thailand Amity Treaty’s future is uncertain. Thailand has a treaty obligation with the World Trade Organisation to treat investment from every WTO member nation the same. A WTO arbitration panel gave Thailand until 2005 to reform its treaties and stop preferentially treating American investors. Now that the deadline has passed, WTO member nations are free to request trade sanctions against Thailand to force compliance with the WTO ruling. For now, this issue remains dormant, but, if international pressure mounts, Thailand may have to decide between canceling the U.S. – Thailand Amity Treaty and granting national treatment to investors from all WTO member nations.
Registering for Amity Treaty Status
Step 1: Certification of U.S. Ownership by the U.S. Commercial Service
The first step in the registration process is certification by the United States Commercial Service (CS). This takes one to two weeks from the time an application is filed. Applicants must file a request form with the CS at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. The $60 USD fee for this service can be paid by credit card or bank draft. Notarized supporting documents are required along with the application. Notarization may be done in the U.S. or at the Embassy or Consulate.
Solo proprietors are only required to submit a notarized copy of their passport to support their application. Corporate entities must submit a variety of documents, including corporate bylaws, lists of shareholders with their nationalities, articles of incorporation, and notarized copies of U.S. shareholders’ and directors’ passports. Subsidiary companies are required to submit these documents for the parent company as well.
All documents must be notarized by notaries public in the U.S. or consular officials at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Submit four sets of documents: one set of original (notarized) documents in English, one set of English photocopies, one set of Thai language original translations, and one set of Thai photocopies. Preparing the supporting documents can be difficult, and the U.S. Commercial Service recommends hiring an attorney to help prepare the paperwork.
Step 2: Applying to the Thai Department of Business Development
Once the application is certified by the United States Commercial Service, the company is eligible to submit an application to the Department of Business Development, a division of the Thai Ministry of Commerce. Include the certificate issued by the Commercial Service and original copies of the supporting documents, which the Commercial Service will have returned.
The Department of Business will require additional documents, such as a map showing the business location and proof of the foreign representatives’ legal residency in Thailand. There is a 2,000 THB processing fee, and processing time ranges from a few weeks to a few months. When the application is approved, a certificate will be issued and the U.S. company will receive national treatment.
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Siam Legal is an international law firm with experienced lawyers, attorneys, and solicitors both in Thailand law and international law. This Thailand law firm offers comprehensive legal services in Thailand to both local and foreign clients for Litigation such as civil & criminal cases, labor disputes, commercial cases, divorce, adoption, extradition, fraud, and drug cases. Other legal expertise of the law firm varied in cases involving corporate law such as company registration & Thailand BOI, family law, property law, and private investigation.