Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
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Agriculture accounts for only six percent of Thailand’s GDP, but the sector employs around one-third of the country’s labor force.  Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of tapioca products, rubber, canned tuna, and canned pineapple.

Thailand was the 20th largest export market for U.S. agricultural products (including seafood and forestry products) and the 12th largest supplier to the United States of agricultural imports in 2022.  U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Thailand in 2022 decreased by seven percent, from about $1.80 billion in 2021 to $1.67 billion primarily due to decreased demand for feed ingredients following a reduction in swine populations impacted by the African Swine Fever outbreak since January 2022. U.S. exports of bulk commodities, accounting for 38 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, declined 20 percent in 2022 due mainly to reduced soybean exports, which declined 48 percent from 2021.  Intermediate products, which accounted for 27 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, declined 12 percent due to reduced exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), partially offset by an increase in soybean meal and other feed and fodder exports.  Consumer-oriented products accounted for 27 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand in 2022 and increased 14 percent from 2021 reflecting greater imports of dairy products, fresh fruits, processed fruit and vegetables, tree nuts, and beef products.

Thailand has high tariffs on agricultural imports with the bound tariff rate averaging 42 percent ad valorem.  This presents a significant impediment for U.S. agricultural exports, particularly consumer-oriented products, including dairy products, meats, fresh fruit, snack foods, processed vegetables, pet food, and alcoholic beverages.  Many other agricultural suppliers to Thailand (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Peru, and Chile) face lower tariffs than the United States due to free trade agreements with Thailand.  Thailand’s non-tariff trade barriers include non-transparent tariff-rate-quota administration, arbitrary import permit controls, and food standards that are not harmonized with international standards.

United States’ imports of Thai agricultural, fishery and forest products in 2022 increased 23 percent to $5.128 billion from $4.182 billion in 2021.  Consumer-oriented products accounted for half of U.S. agricultural product imports from Thailand in 2022, followed by seafood products (27%), bulk commodities (13%), intermediate products (5%), and forest products (4%), respectively.

Table: Thailand’s Agricultural Sector (Billion USD)
 2020202120222023 (Forecast)
Total Local Production               43.559               44.023               43.665               46.870
Total Exports               37.920               42.598               47.332               49.700
Total Imports               18.126               20.701               22.299               24.300
Imports from the U.S.                 1.900                 1.800                 1.670                 1.780
Total Market Size               23.765               22.126               18.632               21.470
Exchange Rate31323534

(Total market size = (total local production + imports) – exports)

Leading Sub-Sectors

Leading sub-sectors include wheat milling, soybean crushing, animal feed operations, and textiles, as well as the hospitality industry, food retailing, and food processing.


Thailand is a growing destination for U.S. agricultural exports due to the expanding economy, increasing consumer incomes, changing lifestyles, and the growing, vibrant tourism industry.  In 2023, the economy is expected to grow 3.6 percent driven by the recovery in the service sector as the number of foreign tourists grew from 11.2 million in 2022 to around 30 million in 2023 (still short of the pre-COVID peak of 40 million foreign tourists in 2019).  The recovery in the hotel and food service sectors is expected to boost demand for feed and feed ingredients to supply Thailand’s processed food industry.

The best market prospects for U.S. agricultural exports include wheat, soybeans and soybean meal, cotton, animal feed premix, DDGS, dairy products, fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, tree nuts, chocolate and cocoa products, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage, meat and meat products, starches, dehydrated potatoes, food additives, colorings, flavorings, juice concentrates, and other baking ingredients.