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The Ministry of Commerce has launched a public hearing relating to the draft ministerial regulation regarding the businesses which will be exempted from the requirement to obtain a Foreign Business License or Foreign Business Certificate. For this initial public hearing, approximately 11 businesses have been proposed to be exempted, with the aim to attract foreign investors and promote investments in Thailand.

To facilitate and support Thai residents’ offshore investments through local licensed intermediaries, the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a new notification to amend requirements on the existing Collaboration Scheme between Thai Intermediaries and offshore financial institutions in offering investments in offshore securities and derivatives denominated in foreign currencies to investors based in Thailand, effective from 16 February 2024.

On 25 December 2023, Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Committee (PDPC) published two subordinate regulations regarding cross-border transfer of personal data under the Personal Data Protection Act B.E. 2562 (2019) (PDPA) in the Government Gazette. These two rules are (1) Whitelist Notification; and (2) the Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs) and Appropriate Safeguards Notification, both of which will come into force on 24 March 2024.
Businesses may need to revisit which cross-border transfer option is appropriate for their specific circumstances, particularly considering whether their existing BCRs (for the Office of the PDPC’s approval) or appropriate safeguards (e.g., existing contractual clauses) are in compliance with the requirements set out by these new subordinate rules.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) intends to strengthen the role of financial service providers in taking responsibility for consumers throughout the loan debt cycle appropriately and comprehensively. The BOT Notification No. Sor Gor Chor. 7/2566 re: Responsible Lending was issued by the BOT and announced in the Government Gazette on 27 December 2023, and became effective on 1 January 2024.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand has amended the requirements for offerings by foreign entities of Baht-denominated bonds and foreign-currency-denominated bonds. These revisions aim to enhance protection for investors and market credibility. The changes also mark the transfer from the Ministry of Finance of Thailand, which until now had the power to grant approval to foreign issuers for issuances of Baht bonds, to the SEC. The amendments came into effect on 1 January 2024.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SEC) has amended and issued regulations (17 in total) to provide clarity regarding the nature of businesses that may be considered investment companies. The amended regulations also impose disclosure obligations, where an investment company is also a listed company, and prohibit any investment companies from offering securities, except in limited circumstances. These regulations became effective on 1 January 2024.

Thailand is taking the next step towards strengthening the legal framework on air quality control as the Cabinet approved in principle the Draft Management for Clean Air Act (“Clean Air Bill”), which was proposed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) on 28 November 2023. Thailand’s current legal framework to manage air quality can be seen in many existing laws that regulate the monitoring and treatment of air pollution, and specify air quality standards. There are many governmental agencies acting as regulators for the purpose of air quality control, including the MONRE, the Ministry of Industry, and the Ministry of Public Health.

With increasing awareness of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology as a key enabler for decarbonization, many developments in this area, such as exploration for carbon storage sites, have been reported. However, presently, in Thailand, there is no legislation specifically governing such CCS-related activities. In this context, the Department of Mineral Fuels has been developing a legal framework to accommodate CCS-related activities as can be seen from the recent public hearing of the draft amendment to the Petroleum Act, B.E. 2514 (1971) (“Draft Petroleum Act”), which aims to introduce the concept of “carbon business” as another regulated activity in a similar manner to conventional petroleum concessions.

The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is one of the legislative measures under the “Fit for 55” package in the EU’s European Green Deal. The CBAM is a measure designed to complement the EU’s Emissions Trading System, targeting imports of carbon-intensive products, including Thai exporters.