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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards

 

Foreign Trade in Figures

Thailand is an emerging economy that is highly dependent on exports, which account for more than two-thirds of the GDP. Thailand is an active member of ASEAN and is very open to international trade, which represents nearly 127% of the GDP (WTO, 2015 average).

The country's three main export partners are the U.S., China and Japan. Main export commodities are electric and electronic equipment, machinery, vehicles, rubber and plastics. The main import partners are China, Japan, the U.S., Malaysia and the UAE. Thailand mainly imports electric and electronic equipment, mineral fuels and oil, machinery, iron and steel and plastics.

Because of a drop in imports (-5.4%), Thailand ended 2016 with a trade surplus for the second time in six years despite continued export contraction. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the country achieved a trade surplus of USD 21.3 billion surplus in January 2017. According to the WTO, the country is the 24th most important exporter and importer in the world.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 249,115250,407227,748202,654194,668
Exports of Goods (million USD) 229,106228,505227,524214,375215,327
Imports of Services (million USD) 52,76754,59852,91950,47342,199
Exports of Services (million USD) 49,30658,25154,99360,28066,419
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.61.7-5.30.0-1.4
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.92.70.20.72.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 68.765.362.657.554.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 69.868.169.469.168.9
Trade Balance (million USD) 1095517,26326,841n/a
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 138.5133.3132.1126.6123.1

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2015
United States 11.2%
China 11.1%
Japan 9.4%
Hong Kong 5.5%
Malaysia 4.8%
Australia 4.6%
Vietnam 4.2%
Singapore 4.1%
Indonesia 3.7%
Philippines (the) 2.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2015
China 20.3%
Japan 15.4%
United States 6.9%
Malaysia 5.9%
United Arab Emirates 4.0%
Singapore 3.6%
South Korea 3.5%
Indonesia 3.2%
Germany 2.7%
Saudi Arabia 2.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 

Main Products

210.9 bn USD of products exported in 2015
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. 6.4%
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) 4.5%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.9%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 3.7%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 3.2%
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. 3.2%
Natural rubber, balata, gutta-percha, guayule, chicle and similar natural gums, in primary forms or in plates, sheets or strip 2.4%
Rice 2.2%
Air conditioning machines comprising a motor-driven fan and elements for changing the temperature and humidity, incl. those machines in which the humidity cannot be separately regulated; parts thereof 2.1%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 1.8%
202.0 bn USD of products imported in 2015
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 9.6%
Electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies 4.7%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 3.6%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.7%
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. 2.6%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 2.1%
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. 1.9%
Articles of iron or steel, n.e.s. (excl. cast articles) 1.7%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 1.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 1.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2017

 
 
 

Main Services

60.4 bn USD of services exported in 2015
Travel
73.78%
Other business services
14.77%
Transportation
9.51%
Construction services
0.88%
Government services
0.60%
Royalties and license fees
0.26%
Cultural and recreational services
0.10%
Insurance services
0.10%
50.1 bn USD of services imported in 2015
Transportation
47.68%
Other business services
21.85%
Travel
15.15%
Royalties and license fees
8.22%
Insurance services
4.71%
Construction services
1.70%
Government services
0.62%
Cultural and recreational services
0.06%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 

Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Thailand Baht (THB)
Exchange Rate Regime
Due to the slowing of the US economy and its tremendous current account deficit, the Thai Baht appreciated against the US Dollar for a while, even after its show of stability several months ago.Although Bank Of Thailand (BOT) has regulated economic stability under the Inflation Targeting framework and has successfully controlled Thailand’s inflation rate for the past eight years, the “rules” framework has not been applied to regulate the exchange rate yet. So far, BOT has attempted to stabilize the exchange rate by intervening in the foreign currency market’s demand and supply volume, and controlling capital inflow and outflow, though BOT has no commitment to control a change to the exchange rate within any exact time or interval.
Level of Currency Instability
After the Thai authorities introduced stringent capital restrictions for foreign investors on 18 December 2006, an unregulated “offshore market” for the Thai baht appeared. At times, the offshore rate was more than 10% higher than the domestic rate. The restrictions were removed on 3 March 2008.
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20112012201320142015
Thailand Baht (THB) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 30.4931.0830.7332.4834.25

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2007
Main International Economic Cooperation
As part of its effort to increase international ties, Thailand has reached out to such regional organisations as the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Thailand has contributed troops to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. As well as being a part of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) and the ASEAN - China Free Trade Area, Thailand, along with the other ASEAN members, is currently engaged in negotiations with China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India to form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement. Thailand has signed bilateral free trade agreements or partial agreements with China, Australia, India, New Zealand, Japan, Chile and Peru, and initiated negociations with Pakistan and Turkey in 2015. Thailand and the European Union were in FTA negotiations, but the EU suspended the talks in light of the political situation in Thailand.
For more information consult the site of the Asia Regional Integration Centre.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Yes.

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention
No

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports

Regarding imports documents, original copies must be manually signed. Pro-forma invoice is required for establishment of letter of credit and should include similar details to the commercial invoice.

There is no prescribed form for the commercial invoice but very precise details are obligatory. A minimum of five copies is needed. Required details include:

- Country of origin and Country or countries from which purchased and consigned as well as:

Date of purchase and sale - whether goods are sold, contracted to be sold, sent on consignment or supplied to branch firm Marks, numbers, gross and net weight of each package and total gross weight of consignment Total number of packages and number containing identical goods Complete description of goods, i.e. name, kind, quality and weight, size and/or grade of each item (for composite articles, show ratio of constituents), trademarks and other symbols Selling price or value per unit (in currency of transaction)

- A certificate of origin is requested and must be issued by an approved authority.

- Two copies of the bill of lading are required and must include: Number of shipper, Certificate of insurance, etc.

- A minimum of five copies of the packing list is required, and must accompany each invoice if goods are packed in more than one case.
Free Zones
There is a Free Zone Program in Thailand, designed to promote competitiveness by encouraging companies to maintain and expand their operations in Thailand. The Free Zone Program encourages Thailand-based operations by removing certain disincentives associated with manufacturing in Thailand.

There are 12 free zones reserved to manufacture of products for export only. For more information, please visit the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) website.

For Further Information
Thai Customs
Thailand Ministry of Commerce
Non Tariff Barriers
Most of the goods can be imported freely. However, certain products require the presentation of a licence given by the Ministry of Commerce. This is the case for certain textile items and certain food-processing products. The licences must be applied for one month before the goods shipment, they are valid for six months and can be extended only once. All food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics are subject to a licence and must be registered and must seek authorisation of the Food and Drug Administration. Excessively burdensome import requirements, price control and phytosanitary measures can impede commerce.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Thailand and WTO
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU.

Learn more about How to Export to Thailand on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

 

Standards

National Standards Organisations
Thailand Industrial Standards Institute (TISI).
Integration in the International Standards Network
TISI is a member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and participates in the FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme (CODEX), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Conference (ILAC). In Southeast Asia, TISI is a member of the ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality (ACCSQ). TISI is also a member of the Standards and Conformance Subcommittee (SCSC) under the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and represents Thailand in the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC).
Obligation to Use Standards
The government of Thailand requires a compulsory certification of sixty products in ten sectors including: agriculture, construction materials, consumer goods, electrical appliances and accessories, PVC pipe, medical, LPG gas containers, surface coatings, and vehicles. Certification of other products is on a voluntary basis. Industrial products that have TISI’s certification are generally regarded as having high standards and good quality.
Classification of Standards
The Thai Industrial Standard (TIS) are classified according to the Thailand Standard Industrial Classification, derived from International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC).
Assessment of the System of Standardization
Through the process of the Thai accreditation system, the National Accreditation Council gives formal recognition that a conformity assessment body is competent to carry out specific function or task according to the relevant international requirement.
Online Consultation of Standards
The Thailand Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) website has an Industrial Standard Institute Library which lists the Thai standards.
Certification Organisations
The National Accreditation Council (NAC) of Thailand
Associations of Standards Users
The structure of NAC enables the participation of those involved, and having interests, in the accreditation, from the government and the private sector including the representative from the Professional Institute, Conformity Assessment Bodies, Manufacturers/Suppliers and Users.

 

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Last Updates: August 2017