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How to Start an Import and Export Business in Thailand

April 28, 2015 | Sharon Cheong

Since import export businesses are not restricted by the 1999 Foreign Business Act, this business has been attractive to foreign investors and entrepreneurs for many years. Basically business owners in the import export area will find it easy to apply for a permit from the Thai government for their company and will not have to pay the 51% Thai shareholder tax. This results in making it much easier and less expensive to start a new import export business in Thailand, while increasing bottom line profit margins. 

Business- Friendly Environment 

Thailand has recognized the great economic benefits of accommodating import export companies and has established very few laws that regulate the import of goods. Generally speaking, there are no restrictions on imported goods, except in specific areas. Import licenses are required and issued by various government departments. Government policies pertaining to the import of specific items can vary a great deal. For instance, importing pharmaceutical products and chemicals is strictly regulated to protect the citizens from harm. On the other hand, importing used vehicles, clothing parts or office machines is fairly lax. 

Obtaining the Right Licenses 

Regardless of what products you choose to import or export, be sure to check with the Department of Foreign Trade to learn about restrictions and required licenses. Many products have a specific department that handles import export licenses. For instance, if you need to import machinery that will be used to make copies of videos or compact discs, see the Department of Intellectual Property for the proper import license. The import of antiques is controlled by the Fine Arts Department. The import and export of precious metals like gold is controlled by the Ministry of Finance. 

Once you have decided upon a product or products to import and or export, the next step should be obtaining a warehouse or storage space near the Seaport and dock area. The Port Authority is situated in Bangkok and is responsible for overseeing the import export industry. Though there are numerous seaports in Thailand, Laem Chabang is one of the country's busiest and occupies over 2500 acres. 

Reliable Business Partners 

One of the major steps in starting an import export business in Thailand is to set up your company. A sole proprietorship is usually the easiest to set up. Once this has been completed, apply for an import export license in your new company's name and then register it for VAT. Many businesses use the services of freight forwarders to expedite the shipping of products in and out of the country. 

There are hundreds if not thousands of good ideas when it comes to what products to invest in. Thailand offers many low cost items that can be exported for a good profit. One of the main concerns should be making sure that you have a reliable supplier who can deliver consistent quality. Some entrepreneurs deal directly with the factories and manufacturers. If you can get set up in a good working relationship with a local factory, then you should be able to give your customers the consistent quality and reliable delivery they will expect. 

Get a Prestigious Address for Your Import Export Business 

Often new business owners don't have the working capital to set up a luxurious office to do business out of. This obstacle can be overcome by leasing serviced office space. Servcorp Serviced Offices can give you a dedicated receptionist, mail forwarding, professional communications networks, and many other top-notch amenities. Please call to learn more about leasing serviced office space in Thailand.