Thailand - Country Commercial Guide

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-07-25


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

Thailand was the 18th 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 2021.  According to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Thailand in 2021 decreased by six percent, from about $1,900 million in 2020 to $1,790 million due to reduced exports of bulk commodities and intermediate products caused by the prolonged COVID-19 outbreak.  U.S. exports of bulk commodities, accounting for 44 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, declined 10 percent in 2021 due mainly to reduced soybean imports, which declined 18 percent from 2020, respectively.  Intermediate products, which accounted for 28 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, declined one percent due to reduced exports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which offset an increase in soybean meal and other feed and fodders exports, accounting for 60 percent of all U.S. intermediate product exports to Thailand.  Consumer-oriented products, which accounted for 22 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to Thailand, increased slightly following an increase in food preparations and dairy products, while exports of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables declined slightly.

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 for consumer-oriented products like dairy products, meats, fresh fruit, snack foods, processed vegetables, and pet foods. Other U.S. competitors face lower tariffs than the United States due to free trade agreements with Thailand (e.g., Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and China).  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 2021 declined by one percent to $4,187 million from $4,239 million in 2020.  Consumer-oriented products accounted for half of U.S. agricultural product imports from Thailand in 2021, followed by seafood products (29%), bulk commodities (18%), intermediate products (4%), and forest products (2%), respectively

Table: Thailand’s Agricultural Sector (Millions USD)





2022 (Forecast) 

Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Total Market Size





Exchange Rate





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

Leading Sub-Sectors

Leading sub-sectors include textiles, wheat milling, soybean crushing, animal feed operations 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 (except for COVID impact), increasing consumer incomes, changing lifestyles, and the growing, vibrant tourism industry.  The economy is expected to grow between 2.5 – 3.5 percent in 2022.  The economic growth in 2022 will be driven by the export sector, which is expected to grow by six percent.  Thailand’s processed food industry is growing rapidly and relies on imported ingredients for food and feed production.

Best market prospects for U.S. agricultural exports include soybeans, soybean meal, cotton, DDGS, protein for animal feed, wheat, meat and meat products, dairy products, fresh fruit, dried fruits, nuts, starches, dehydrated potatoes, food additives, colorings, flavorings, juice concentrates, and other baking ingredients.