A Vibrant and Growing Economy
Thailand is Southeast Asia’s second largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around USD 300 billion. With a free-market economy, the Kingdom has a strong domestic market and a growing middle class, with the private sector being the main engine of growth. The Thai economy is well integrated into the global marketplace, with exports accounting for over 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP. Thailand also has a strong industrial sector (40 per cent of GDP) and a robust and growing services sector (50 per cent of GDP) centred on the tourism and financial services industries. Though traditionally an agrarian society and historically one of the world’s few net food exporters, the agricultural sector today accounts for approximately 9 per cent of the country’s GDP. Given the importance of exports to Thailand, it has been a leader in the region in terms of trade liberalisation and facilitation with the rest of the world, starting with its Asian neighbours. Thailand is a key player in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), enjoying a strategic location that provides easy access to a larger market of nearly 600 million people, which is expected to gain even more strength when the ASEAN vision of One Community materialises in 2015, making it a community of connectivity, a single market and production base. Furthermore, Thailand’s convenient access to China and India, as well as to other East Asian countries such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, takes this huge consumer market to even bigger proportions. In addition, Thailand’s friendly relations and expanding networks of free trade agreements with other countries have further opened up trade access to markets both within and outside the region. These, coupled with the Kingdom’s strategic positioning, have made the country a regional centre for international travel and trade, as well as a hub for various industries, of which the most notable are the automotive industry and agro-industries. With a favourable investment climate, an entrepreneurial spirit and an open society, Thailand has been chosen by many businesses, media firms, as well as international organisations and non-governmental organisations as the base for their regional offices. Thailand has long been known for its open, free, and business-friendly market economy and sound macro-economic policies with fiscal and monetary prudence. To enhance the country’s competitiveness, the country has been streamlining its laws and regulations, improving its infrastructure, enlarging the pool of quality workforce and promoting research and development to promote a creative economy. Thailand therefore remains a favourite investment destination of choice for foreign investors looking for business opportunities both within Thailand and throughout Asia, attracting on average around USD 10 billion in net foreign direct investment every year.