Thailand - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview
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Thailand is an upper middle-income country and the second largest economy in ASEAN after Indonesia.  Its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 was $526 billion.  According to Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), the Thai economy in 2022 grew by 2.6 percent, a gradual economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but still lack behind other large ASEAN economies.  The NESDC noted that the improvement in 2022 was mainly driven by the tourism arrivals, which in turn helped spur domestic consumption and investment. 

Two-way trade of goods in 2022 was more than US $74 billion, with $58.6 billion in Thai exports to the United States and $15.8 billion in U.S. exports to Thailand.  U.S. exports to Thailand increased by 25 percent, while U.S. imports from Thailand increased by 23.8 percent in 2022.  An export-dependent economy, Thailand exported a total of $287 billion worth of goods in 2022.    According to the Bank of Thailand, in 2022 the United States was Thailand’s largest export market after China and Japan.  For two-way trade, China was Thailand’s biggest trading partner, followed by the U.S. and Japan.

The NESDC projected that the Thai economy will expand between 2.5 and 3.0 percent in 2023, mainly supported by continuing favorable growth of private consumption; recovery of tourism sector; and the expansion in both private and public investments.  Growth is moderated by expected slower exports due to sluggish global economy.

In 2023, the Thai government planned to focus on economic development in six areas:  

  1. Maintaining favorable political environment to ensure stability.
  2. Maintaining growth momentum of public expenditure and investment.
  3. Catalyzing recovery in the tourism and service industry.
  4. Supporting agricultural production and farmers’ income
  5. Fostering export growth.
  6. Stimulating private investment, including in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The Thai government promotes industrial development and infrastructure projects in the EEC.  The EEC covers 30 existing and new industrial zones and aims to channel both public and private investments totaling $55 billion into three eastern provinces — Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, and Rayong.  The EEC’s targeted industries include next-generation cars, smart electronics, medical services, wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, automation and robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuel and biochemical, defense, and education and human resource development.

Political Environment

Visit the State Department’s website for background on the country’s political and economic environment.