Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, and other issues that affect trade.
Thailand is an upper middle-income country and the second largest economy in ASEAN after Indonesia. Its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021 was $513 billion, growing 1.6 percent from the previous year.
Thailand is the 26th largest export destination for the United States. Two-way trade of goods in 2021 was more than $60 billion, with $47.4 billion in Thai exports to the United States and $12.7 billion in U.S. exports to Thailand. U.S. exports to Thailand increased by 13 percent, while U.S. imports from Thailand increased by 25 percent in 2021. An export-dependent economy, Thailand exported a total of $294 billion worth of goods in 2021. The United States was Thailand’s top export market (15%), followed by China (14%) and Japan (9%). 
According to Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC), the Thai economy in 2021 grew by 1.6 percent, only partially recovering from a decline of 6.2 percent in 2020. Export of goods, private consumption, and investments expanded by 18.8 percent, 0.3 percent, and 3.4 percent, respectively. On the production side, agricultural production grew by 1.4 percent, forestry and fisheries grew by 4.9 percent, and the wholesale and retail trade sector grew by 1.7 percent.
At the time of writing, the Thai economy is projected to expand between 2.5 and 3.5 percent in 2022, mainly supported by improved domestic demand, a partial recovery of the tourism sector, and continued strength in exports.
For the year 2022, the Thai government has stated it will focus on economic development in four areas: i) maintaining household expenditure; ii) catalyzing recovery in the tourism industry; iii) promoting exports to major markets and expanding to new markets; and iv) stimulating private investment, including in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
The Thai government is promoting 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.