Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Using an Agent to Sell US Products and Services

Includes typical use of agents and distributors and how to find a good partner, e.g., whether use of an agent or distributor is legally required

Last published date: 2019-10-13

Although Thai law does not require the use of local agents or distributors, it is one of the most efficient and effective ways to enter the market in Thailand.  A key aspect of business culture in Thailand is interpersonal relationships, which drive business development and transactions.  Thailand-based agents and distributors are accustomed to local business practices and requirements and as such are well positioned to develop and execute business in the market.  In addition, local agents and distributors typically manage regulatory affairs, acquire required import permits, manage custom clearance, and handle other logistics for U.S. exporters.

U.S. exporters must invest sufficient time and attention in selecting a qualified local partner and provide training for marketing and technical support.  Frequent contact with local representatives is essential in order to cultivate a productive working relationship.
Some of the best ways to locate an agent or distributor in Thailand are to:

  • Use the International Partner Search Service (IPS), Gold Key Service (GKS), or Video Gold Key Service available from the Commercial Section, U.S. Embassy Bangkok.
  • Order an IPS report that provides a listing of Thai companies that have been interviewed and hand-selected by the Commercial Specialist responsible for your industry sector.  These companies have examined your product literature and company profile and expressed significant interest in exploring a potential business relationship with your firm.  You will receive a company profile and contact information for each Thai company that expresses interest in your product or services. 
  • Should you plan to visit Thailand following your receipt of the IPS report, we recommend utilizing our GKS.  Under the GKS, a Commercial Specialist will arrange one-on-one meetings with each potential Thai representative, arrange hotel and transportation, and accompany you to meetings.  If you are not in a position to travel to Thailand but wish to have face-to-face discussions with the Thai candidates, we can arrange “virtual” meetings by videoconference under our Video Gold Key Service.  If you do not have access to videoconferencing equipment, you can go to the nearest U.S. Department of Commerce Export Assistance Center in the United States to use our video equipment.  A searchable directory of these centers may be found at the following website:  U.S. Commercial Services Offices.
  • If you travel to the region to utilize one of our fee-based services, we strongly encourage you to consider undertaking a similar service in another market.  Staff at your local Export Assistance Center can help facilitate a multi-market visit to the region.

Participation in trade exhibitions in Thailand can also be an effective means to test the market and locate appropriate agents or distributors in Thailand.  Contact the Commercial Section at the U.S. Embassy in Thailand to learn more about regional trade events