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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

Most of the goods can be imported freely. However, certain products require the presentation of a license given by the Ministry of Commerce of the Thai Government. This is the case for certain textile items and certain food-processing products. The licenses must be applied for one month before the goods shipment, they are valid for 6 months and can be extended only once. All food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics are subject to a license and must be registered and must seek authorisation of the Food and Drug Administration.


Customs duties
Thailand uses the Nomenclature of the Harmonised System for the Designation and Codification of Goods. Most of the duties are ad valorem and are calculated on the CIF value at the customs office, or they are specific (calculated per unit, per volume or per weight) or further, ad valorem duties and specific duties are cumulated.




The presence of a local agent is indispensable; the main agencies of international advertising are operating in Thailand. The distribution of machinery and equipment is usually carried out by wholesale importers who take the responsibility of the after-sale service function. Department stores, supermarket chains and discount stores are present and the market segmentation is in full development. There are 3 market levels in Thailand : importing companies (small companies managed by Chinese people); big supermarkets (Central, Yahoan, Robinson), supermarket chains (Foodland) and convenience stores (Seven Eleven) and finally, a number of small stores managed by families. In Bangkok, the standard of living is nearly twice higher than in the rest of the country. One must notice the continuous emergence of the middle class, the purchasing power of which is continuously growing.


Transportation of goods

By road
The road transport network extends over 50,000 km of which 16,500 km are the main routes. This is one of the best road networks of South-east Asia. 90% of goods transport is carried on this road network.

By rail
The railway transport network links the capital with four extremities of the country. There are 4,452 km of railway lines managed by the public sector enterprise called State Railways of Thailand (STR).

By sea
The main ports of this country are Bangkok (Klong Toey) which brings together 85% of the maritime transport of the country. Laem Chabang, is located at 130 km from Bangkok and Map Ta Phut. Thailand has 4,000 km of navigable river ways and distributed over the river of Chao Praya and its affluent.

By air
There are 6 international airports : Bangkok (Don Muang),Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani. These are all undergoing extension and modernisation.


Thailand Industrial Standard Institute (TIST) manages and controls the technical norms as well as the programme of national certification in Thailand. It issues the right to use the TIST symbol on National products. In order to obtain further information, you can contact TIST.

Patents and brands

Thailand is part of the Convention leading to the establishment of the World of Intellectual Property Organisation (OMPI/WIPO) but it is not signatory of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property nor any other international convention. However, the country has passed a huge number of bilateral agreements on the protection of industrial property.
In order to be protected in Thailand, patents must be registered in the country itself: the Patent Act no. 2 of 1992 protects letters patents over a period of 20 years and industrial design patents over a period of 10 years. Trademarks are protected by the Trademark Act of 1991. Protection can be renewed for additional 10 years. The institution responsible for the registration and protection of industrial property is the Trade Department in the Ministry of Commerce.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

  Text Date entered into law Period of validity Comment
Patent Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979), as amended by Patent Act (No. 2) B.E. 2535 (1992) and Patent Act (No. 3) B.E. 2542 (1999) : 20 years :
Trademark Trademark Act B.E. 2534 (1991) as amended by the Trademark Act (No. 2) B.E. 2543 (2000) : 10 years, renewable for a further 10-year period :
Design Patent Act B.E. 2522 (1979), as amended by Patent Act (No. 2) B.E. 2535 (1992) and Patent Act (No. 3) B.E. 2542 (1999) : 10 years :


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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