hat is the Office of Commercial Affairs?
We are the overseas representative office for the Royal Thai Government's Ministry of Commerce. We operate within the Ministry of Commerce's Office of the Permanent Secretary and are primarily responsible for trade matters including policies at the multilateral and bilateral levels with the aim of fostering greater trade between the United States and Thailand. While acting as the counterpart to the US Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative, we also work closely in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce's own Offices of International Trade Promotion (also known as the Thai Trade Centers) located in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami, in seeking greater market access for the export of all Thai products.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the things being done at the Office of Commercial Affairs?
- We primarily handle trade related regulatory matters. We monitor trade issues, U.S. regulations / laws (including tentative ones) and analyze possible repercussions for Thailand companies and products exported to the United States (such as GSP, AD/CVD, Section 232 among other issues). Further details on these specific issues are available in the Trade Topics tab on the top menu.
- We also monitor and analyze trade data on various commodities and sectors. Further details on these specific issues are available in the Data & Analysis tab on the top menu.
- We assist in promoting Thai companies and products in the United States (in conjunction with the regional Offices of International Trade Promotion / Thai Trade Centers).
- We also assist US customers interested in making first contact in the promotion of Thai products here in the United States. While we do not have expertise in every commercial sector, we can assist an interested party with initial consultations on general business issues and further direct you to the appropriate authorities for further contact in Thailand. For issues with locating Thai supplies, manufacturers, exporters or for information on trade shows / trade fairs or other business matchmaking assistance, we defer to our Thai Trade Centers.
I want to buy / import from Thailand? What should I do?
- If you are interested in sourcing from Thailand, we recommend that you first contact the Department of International Trade Promotion's Thai Trade Center available in many countries throughout the world nearest you. They can assist you by providing lists of verified suppliers, a calendar of upcoming trade-shows and related events and registration information for various trade shows and other business match-making services with Thailand. Additionally, if time is an issue, you can use the links available at the bottom of this page below (see Trade Promotion) for the Department of International Trade Promotion's available online resources.
- Regardless of who you choose as your supplier, we recommend that you always thoroughly verify your prospective business partners before making any payments or transferring any funds overseas, as once such transfers are made they may be irreversible.
I want to invest in / open a branch office / set up a factory in Thailand? What should I do?
- If you are interested in investing in or opening a branch office or manufacturing facility in Thailand, we recommend that you contact the Office of the Board of Investment nearest you. They can assist you by providing information on current government investment incentive programs as well as related regulatory information for your specific sector. Additionally, you can also get some preliminary information from their website.
A Thai company wants to invest in my US company? What should I do?
- If you receive an email or communication from a Thai person or organization claiming to want to invest money in your company, please continue reading. There is a common confidence scam currently circulating the internet where an "investor" will ask that you (the recipient) file and acquire "government papers and/or permits" which requires payment of fees (usually done via wire-transfer). They will then suggest a 3rd party consultant / lawyer (who in actuality is their co-conspirator) that can help facilitate the paperwork. Once you pay the fee to the consultant, they will say another fee is required and so on an so on until you refuse to pay anymore. At which point they will simply disappear and no longer respond to your emails or phone calls.
- These scams are often run by trans-national criminals who operate over the internet, moving from country to country, like modern day gypsies. There is little one agency or government can do to permanently stop them. We therefore warn people to be wary of “random” solicitations of investment funding and to always perform the proper due diligence first before paying any money / fees – such as by contacting the respective Embassy.
SOME TIPS TO RECOGNIZE POSSIBLE FRAUD:
- They may use the name of a famous business person or celebrity, Thai or otherwise. Please be aware that the identities of the people communicating with you may be real but also false. For example, the name they use may be of a famous Thai person to give the appearance of credibility (and pass casual google searches) but in actuality they have no connection whatsoever to the real owner of the identity – like someone emailing you and claiming to be Bill Gates or Elon Musk. If you google Bill Gates or Elon Musk, a lot of info may come up, but none of it is related to the person perpetrating the scam / falsely using that name or identity.
- Social Media. The perpetrators usually target companies that have publicly solicited for funding / investment on various websites or social networks. If you are on such networks, please bear this in mind when evaluating solicitations.
- Email. They may use public / free email domains on email correspondence vs an official corporate email address. It is something companies interested in investing millions would not do.
- Fake Websites. They may use or refer to website names or emails that are close in spelling to a real company name but off by just a few letters, such as Microsoftllc.com vs. Microsoft.com
- Mis-matched Phone Numbers. Use of phone numbers in correspondence that do not match the phone numbers available on the company's public website.
- Use of Cell Phones. Thailand's phone country code is 66 followed by a two digit city code (i.e. 66xy, where xy can be 02-99). If the city code is either a 6x (60-69), 8x (80-89) or 9x (90-99) – the line is attached to a mobile phone. Disposable phones - or so called "burner phones" - are often used as the primary means of communication in scams because the perpetrators can buy, use, cancel then open new mobile phones easily.
- False Permits and Paperwork. They request that you pay fees for “licenses or permits” first before they can invest in your company. Needless to say, these claims are false, and the "lawyer" or "consultant" they have you contact is one of their co-conspirators.
- Wire Transfers. No government agency will ever ask you to pay for a government service fee via wire transfer. Wire transfers are the criminals' payment of choice due to the difficulty in reversing charges once discovered.
- Please keep in mind, that should you have any suspicions about a Thai company, the Office of Commercial Affairs is always available to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions (in verifying information, government documents, etc.).
I want to export to / sell my US product in Thailand? What should I do?
- If you are a interested in exporting to / selling your product in Thailand, we recommend that you contact the US Commercial Service at the US Embassy in Thailand. As a branch office within the US Department of Commerce, they are tasked with assisting US companies wishing to export abroad, including to Thailand. They can provide information on market conditions, customer / importer lists and assist with other business activities (such as locating local partners / agents or helping to perform due diligence).
- In the USA, the US Department of Commerce also maintains local offices within most states which can help your company with any international export activities. A full list of which can be found here.
- If you are visiting our website from outside of the USA and require assistance exporting / selling to Thailand, please contact your own country's representative Embassy in Thailand for further assistance. A complete list of foreign Embassies operating in Thailand (or if not in Thailand but in the region and whose area of responsibility includes Thailand) may be found here (this listing is provided by the Royal Thai Government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
I have a dispute with a Thai company, what should I do?
Royal Thai Embassy, in Washington, DC
1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., suite 401
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel. (202) 944-3600
Fax (202) 944-3611
E-mail: Royal Thai Embassy Contact page
Please bear in mind that the Royal Thai Embassy, the Ministry of Commerce (and related agencies) are NOT law enforcement or judiciary bodies and situations involving contractual disputes between two private parties will require arbitration or adjudication within the Thai judicial system as appropriate to the specific contractual requirements between the involved parties. This is the same as similar disputes in the United States.