- Total two-way trade: $21.2 billion (2016)
- Trade in goods: $18.1 billion
- Trade in services: $3.1 billion
- Total two-way investment stock: $7.6 billion (2016)
- Australian investment in Thailand: $4.4 billion (2016)
- Thai investment in Australia: $3.1 billion (2016)
- Population: 69 million
- GDP growth: 3.2% (2016)
- GDP: US$406.9 billion (2016)
- GDP per capita: US$5,899.40 (2016)
- Ease of doing business: 46 of 190 (2017)
TAFTA AANZFTA RCEP
Thailand is ASEAN's second largest economy after Indonesia. It is an upper middle-income country with robust export-oriented industries and strengths in agribusiness, tourism, automotive and electronics manufacturing.
Around 60 per cent of Thailand's GDP comes from services (including tourism), 27 per cent from a diverse industrial and manufacturing base and eight per cent from the agriculture sector. Thailand is a regional and global manufacturing hub for vehicles, automotive components, consumer electronics, and processed food and beverages.
The diversity of Thailand's industrial sector is a key driver of growth. Thailand also provides access to the Greater Mekong sub-region, where the emerging markets of Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos offer additional business opportunities.
'Thailand 4.0' is the country's ambitious, 20-year plan to transform its economy into one which is higher value-added, innovative and knowledge‑based, with an increased focus on services. The Government is seeking to boost Thailand's international competitiveness in high-potential industries as part of this plan.
Thai companies are looking for solutions and partnerships to enhance their market position, technical capabilities and operational effectiveness. Australian companies are well-represented in Thailand, particularly in advanced manufacturing, logistics, and professional and financial services. Areas where Australian companies have prospects include:
Digital transformation: Thailand's digital economy is expanding at a rapid rate, following major investments in ICT infrastructure. Thais are some of the most active users of smartphones in the region,31 and the e-commerce market, currently valued at more than US$3 billion, is forecast to grow by 15 per cent over the next five years.32 Banks and businesses are looking for innovative solutions to operate more efficiently and take advantage of new online business models.
Smart cities: Thailand has embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development program to upgrade its connectivity, logistics capacity and competitiveness. Rail, road, airports and sea ports projects worth over US$25 billion are expected to be delivered; and funding is anticipated to be a mix of state financing, public-private partnerships, and foreign direct investment. The Thai Government is also accelerating the development of smart cities programs in key regional areas to further improve transport, education, healthcare and tourism services across the country.
Industry development: There are opportunities for Australian technology, services and know-how to enhance industry capabilities and competitiveness, particularly in agriculture, healthcare, communications, cybersecurity, aviation, e-government and financial service technologies. The rising middle class continues to drive demand for quality school, university and vocational training to support Thailand 4.0 priorities and to build a globally competitive workforce.
Aviation: Thailand has ambitions to become an aviation hub and is preparing itself for the expected tripling of the regional airline fleet over the next 20 years.33 To succeed, the industry will require the latest technologies, maintenance capabilities and skilled personnel. Australian exporters with relevant capabilities, including in maintenance, repair and overhaul and vocational training, are well-positioned to support this growth.
Tourism and healthcare: Bangkok is the most visited city in the world, attracting more than 21 million visitors in 2016.34 Over 800,000 Australians travel to Thailand every year. The Government is investing heavily in Thailand's six major international airports to service an anticipated increase in tourist arrivals to 47 million by 2020.35 The tourism sector is looking for better ways to provide unique experiences and operate sustainably. Thailand is also a healthcare leader in the region.
The Government is encouraging more investments to position the country as the medical and wellness centre of ASEAN.
Packaging and processing: Thailand is the manufacturing, processing and distribution centre of Southeast Asia. With over 10,000 food manufacturers in the country alone,36 there's demand for modern packaging and processing equipment which can improve operational efficiency and meet the needs of more discerning consumers in Thailand's key export markets.