Today, we got an interesting question from one of our inquiring clients:
Question: We want to set up a trading company in Thailand. We will import products from overseas but we are not sure if we will be allowed. What are the products that we cannot bring to Thailand and which government agencies should we contact to get the proper permission?
The Thai Customs Department is charged to stop the importation and exportation of prohibited goods in Thailand. It is also designated to intercept the importation and exportation of restricted goods, ensuring that all relevant laws and regulations are followed properly. Moreover, the comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted goods as well as information about the control and in the case of restricted goods to the permission to import/export may be obtained from the Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce.
The following information from the Thai Customs generally outlines the prohibited or restricted goods in Thailand. This will give you the idea where you can obtain more information about the control and, in the case of restricted goods, to apply for permission to import/export.
Prohibited goods are goods for which either the import into or export out of Thailand are prohibited. Any person imports or exports prohibited goods is considered as committing offences and subject to penalties indicated in the relevant national legislation. In addition, such activity is also considered as an offence under Articles 27 and 27 bis of the Customs Act B.E. 2469. It is prohibited by law to bring the following items into our out of Thailand.
- Narcotics e.g., marijuana, hemp, opium, cocaine, morphine, heroin
- Goods with Thai national flag
- Fake Royal Seals/official seals
- Fake currency, bonds or coins
- Pirated copyright goods e.g. musical tape, CD, VDO, computer software, etc.
- Obscene objects/literature/pictures
- Pornographic materials
- Counterfeit trademark goods
Restricted Goods are goods of which the import and export are restricted by law and therefore require a permit from the related government agencies. Any person imports or exports restricted goods is considered as committing offences and subject to penalties indicated in the relevant national legislation. In addition, such activity is also subjected to the offence under Articles 27 and 27 bis of the Customs Act B.E. 2469.
Although the Thai Customs is charged to stop the trading of prohibited goods and intercept the flow of restricted goods, the Ministry of Commerce in Thailand designates classes of goods that are subject to import controls, which usually take the form of permission and licensing. Although these controls are being liberalized, at present more than 50 classes of goods require import licenses from the Ministry of Commerce. These categories are frequently changed through notifications of the Ministry of Commerce. A license to import any of the restricted items must be obtained from the Ministry of Commerce prior to importation. Application for the license must be accompanied by a supplier’s order, confirmation, invoice, and other pertinent documents.
In addition to the Act imposing the above controls, a number of goods are also subject to import controls under or other relevant agencies. These include:
- The import of drugs, food and supplementary products requires prior licensing from the Food and Drug Administration, the Ministry of Health.
- The imports of weapons and ammunition, explosives, fireworks and real and replica firearms requires appropriate license from the Ministry of Interior. Other weapons such as electric shock devices must also be declared. Some of these items may require a permit, before importation.
- The Cosmetic Act stipulates that for the purpose of protection of public health, any importer of controlled cosmetics must provide the name and location of the office and the place of manufacture or storage of cosmetics, the category or kind of cosmetics to be imported and the major components of the cosmetics.
- The import or export of antiques or objects of art, whether registered or not, requires permission from the Fine Arts Department.
- The import of wild fauna, flora, fish and other aquatic fauna requires permission from the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Fishery as the case may be.
The above information serves as a general guideline only and subject to changes without prior notice from the respective government authorities. It does not in any way replace the Thai Customs and related laws or regulations. We highly recommend that you should verify the accuracy, relevance, and completeness of the information with the concerned authorities. Hence, contact ThaiLawyers for company registration, business licenses, work permit & visa application services.