Population (2018): 69.4 million
GDP (2018): US$ 504.9 billion
World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” Rank (2019): 27
Bilateral trade with India (2018-19): US$ 11.88 billion
Gateway to the Mekong Region
Thailand is the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, and it is an attractive market you should consider. With its central location in Indochina, Thailand is the ideal gateway to the growing economies of its neighbours and export trade partners in the Mekong region – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).
In 2017, Thailand proposed a master plan to improve infrastructure development to link the region’s logistics network. By bringing your business to Thailand, your customer base can potentially become bigger than the country’s population of 69 million and extend to the 230 million in the CLMV markets.
Nationwide Digital Push
Under Thailand’s National Digital Economy Masterplan, the Thai government has made it a priority to develop digital hard infrastructure. The Masterplan lays out a 20-year strategy to capture growth opportunities in the rising digital economy. It aims to broaden the outreach of digital technology in Thailand and usher the country into the Thailand 4.0 era – a new digital economic model launched in 2016.
This makes Thailand an attractive market for tech companies in sectors such as agritech, e-commerce, enterprise services, fintech, and healthtech. However, one of the key challenges for the Thai technology sector is a shortage of talent. Computer science graduates in Thailand are highly sought after by multinational corporations and other companies every year. This is an area Indian companies can make up for, by providing related solutions in areas such as database management, software engineering, and systems & networking to bridge the market gaps.
Thailand is witnessing an infrastructure boom. Transport infrastructure development, in particular, is a key priority of the Thai government, which wants to boost its regional connectivity and strengthen its position as a manufacturing hub.
In 2017, Thailand announced a five-year public-private partnership (PPP) strategic plan worth 1.62 trillion baht (US$ 52.6 billion). Of the total budget, about 95% is for transport infrastructure investment, and the rest for education and public health.
Transport projects under the strategic plan will be divided into two groups: projects for which the government wants the private sector to contribute specific skills to, such as high-speed trains, rail systems in Bangkok and ports for shipping goods; and projects in which the government is encouraging the private sector to invest in, such as airports and motorways.
India’s economic and commercial relations with Thailand are rooted in history, age-old socio-cultural interactions and extensive people to people contacts. India and Thailand celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations in 2017. India’s ‘Look East’ policy (since 1993) and Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy (since 1996) which has now metamorphosed into India’s ‘Act East’ and Thailand’s ‘Act West” are strongly contributing in consolidating bilateral relations including economic & commercial linkages.
Two-way trade in 2018 totalled US$ 12.46 billion, with about US$ 7.60 billion in Thai exports to India and US$ 4.86 billion in Indian exports to Thailand. In the ASEAN region, Thailand ranks as India’s 5th largest trading partner after Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. The growing ties between the two countries have come at a time when the AEC is expected to bring greater integration among member countries be it in the form of physical connectivity, economic links, cultural and educational ties.
The fast growing Indian market remains attractive for Thai investors, given the vast opportunities available in infrastructure sector, tourism and retail industries. India continues to remain an interesting market for export of goods from Thailand. Currently, Thai goods have benefited from tax reduction under ASEAN-India FTA in Goods, which came into effect from 01 January, 2010 and resulted to the flow of more goods into Indian market. An Early Harvest Scheme (EHS), covering 82 products (now 83 products) under the proposed India-Thailand FTA, in place since September 2004, has already resulted in phenomenal growth in our bilateral trade.
Thailand views India as the gateway to South Asia and beyond. As a result of the reduced tariff rates and new initiatives adopted by both the countries, trade between two countries increased manifold in recent years. Bilateral Trade has multiplied eight times since 2000 to reach US$ 12.46 billion in 2018.
Pearls, pharmaceutical products, machinery, iron & steel, aluminium, cotton, fish, vehicles, machinery & cotton are some of the major commodities that India exports to Thailand.
|Product Code||Product Label||Thailand’s imports from India in 2018 (US$ million)|
|’71||Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad …||625.7|
|’84||Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof||599.3|
|’03||Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates||319.5|
|’72||Iron and steel||257|
|’87||Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof||252.5|
|’85||Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television …||242.2|
|’76||Coffee, tea, maté and spices||101.1|
Source: ITC trade map
According to ITC trade map, diamonds, copper cathodes, and insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides & similar products are major items that India can export to Thailand.
|Product code||Description||Export potential|
|710239||Diamonds, worked||US$ 527.8 million|
|740311||Copper cathodes||US$ 362.6 million|
|3004Xb||Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products, for retail sale||US$ 22.6 million|
|03XXXX||Molluscs & other aquatic invertebrates||US$ 83.8 million|
|0904XX||Pepper (Capsicum or Pimenta), dried, crushed or ground||US$ 19.3 million|
|3808||Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides & similar||US$ 104.5 million|
|721049||Flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel||US$ 97.9 million|
|711319||Jewellery, of precious metal, nes||US$ 84.2 million|
|230649||Oilcake & other solid residues, whether or not ground or in pellets||US$ 59.9 million|
|760110||760110||US$ 59.4 million|
Source: ITC trade map
India imports machinery, plastics, organic chemicals, vehicles, pearls, rubber, copper, animal oils and iron & steel are the top import commodities.
|Product Code||Product Label||India’s imports from Thailand in 2018 ( in US$ million)|
|’84||Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers; parts thereof||1,394.65|
|’39||Plastics and articles thereof||979.695|
|’85||Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television …||935.695|
|’87||Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof||451.66|
|’71||Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad …||383.72|
|’40||Rubber and articles thereof||371.69|
|’74||Copper and articles thereof||300.92|
|’15||Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal …||252.38|
|’72||Iron and steel||195.24|
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