Thailand flag Thailand: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Thailand

Foreign Trade in Figures

Thailand is an emerging economy and active member of ASEAN and is very open to international trade, which represented 97.9% of the GDP in 2021 (World Bank, 2022). Main export commodities are vehicles, including parts and accessories  (7.2% of total exports), jewellery (3.1%), crude oil (2.8%) and rubber products (2.4%). Thailand mainly imports crude oil (9.6% of total imports), electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies (4.7%), gold including gold plated with platinum (2.9%), and parts for motor vehicles (6.5%). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forecasting an increase of 4.7% in the volume of exports of goods and services of the country in 2022, after an increase of 2.8% in 2021 and a fall of 4.9% in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, and an increase of 5% of its imports, after an increase of 15.2% in 2021 and a fall of 3.2% in 2020.

In 2021, the country's main export partners were the United States (15% of total exports in 2021), China (13%), Japan (10%), Hong Kong (5%) and Vietnam with 4.9% (Comtrade, 2022). The main import partners were China (25% of total imports), Japan (14%), United States (7.7%) and Malaysia (5.2%). The US-China trade war could hurt Thai exports in the coming years, but the slowdown in China can be counterbalanced by the economic upturn in other markets. On the 15th of November 2020 Thailand has signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries. This free trade agreement is the largest trade deal in history, covering 30 per cent of the global economy. It includes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN : Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and ASEAN’s free trade agreement partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and Republic of Korea). The RCEP covers goods, services, investment, economic and technical cooperation. It also creates new rules for electronic commerce, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, and small and medium sized enterprises.

According to WTO data Thailand shipped USD 250.2 billion worth of products and services in 2021, while imports of goods and services stood at USD 215.3 billion, giving a trade balance surplus, including services, of USD 34.9 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 194,668221,519248,201236,260206,992
Exports of Goods (million USD) 215,327236,635252,957246,269231,468
Imports of Services (million USD) 42,19946,38554,66156,56346,563
Exports of Services (million USD) 66,41975,22877,15280,78431,421

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 120.6120.9120.9109.697.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 35,77632,58122,38826,72539,820
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 56,05156,87744,92251,04724,666
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -1.06.28.3-5.2-13.3
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 2.75.23.4-3.0-19.4
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 53.554.256.050.146.5
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 67.166.764.959.551.4

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 15.97.38.56.04.1
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 18.35.35.44.54.6

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Thailand is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), ICC, Colombo Plan, WTO, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), G-77, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Thailand click here. International organisation membership of Thailand is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
Thailand is a member of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed on 15 November 2020. The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Thailand can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
United States 14.9%
China 12.9%
Japan 9.9%
Hong Kong SAR, China 4.9%
Vietnam 4.8%
See More Countries 52.7%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 24.0%
Japan 13.3%
United States 7.3%
Malaysia 4.9%
South Korea 3.7%
See More Countries 46.7%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

231.4 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 5.8%
Automatic data processing machines and units...Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 5.1%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.6%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 3.1%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.9%
See More Products 79.6%
207.7 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 8.5%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassembliesElectronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 5.9%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 3.2%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 2.4%
Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles...Parts and accessories for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705, n.e.s. 2.4%
See More Products 77.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: September 2022

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