The Commerce Ministry looks set to propose the cabinet remove three services -- telecommunications, finance and software development -- from List 3 of the Foreign Business Act (FBA) to facilitate foreign investment in Thailand.
Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of Business Development Department under the Commerce Ministry, said the department has already completed the draft to remove the three service businesses from List 3 of the FBA.
The FBA has three lists of activities in which foreign participation may be prohibited or restricted.
Activities on List 1 are designated as "businesses not permitted for foreigners to operate due to special reasons". Foreign companies are completely restricted from engaging in these activities.
Activities on List 2 are designated as "businesses related to national safety or security, or affecting arts and culture, traditional and folk handicrafts, or natural resources and environment". Foreign companies may only engage in these activities with prior cabinet approval.
Activities on List 3 are designated as "businesses in which Thai nationals are not yet ready to compete with foreigners". Foreign companies must apply for and obtain a foreign business licence before taking part in these activities.
According to Mr Thosapone, once the draft is approved, foreign companies investing in the three service businesses will no longer be required to seek permission from the Foreign Business Commission to operate.
"The department sees it as imperative to remove all three service businesses from List 3 because those sectors are already subject to specific laws or agencies," he said.
"If foreign businesses want to do business in Thailand, they can just ask for permission directly from the supervisory bodies of those sectors. This reduces redundancy and is in line with the goal to create an investment-friendly environment."
Mr Thosapone said the department together with related agencies are studying removing more service businesses from the FBA.