Economic & Commercial Relations Economic & Commercial Relations

Economic & Commercial Relations

Embassy of India





Thailand is the second largest economy in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). It is an upper middle income country with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$ 505.6 billion in 2021. GDP growth rate of Thailand was 1.6 % in 2021.  The Thai economy is export-dependent with exports accounting for around 54% of GDP.  Thailand maintains an open, market-oriented economy and actively promotes foreign direct investment in to the country. The country has well-developed infrastructure and has managed to transform its economy from primarily agriculture-based, to one of the most diverse in the region.

2.India’s economic and commercial relations with Thailand are rooted in history, age-old socio cultural interactions and extensive people to people contacts. India’s ‘Look East’ policy (since 1993) and Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy (since 1996) which have now metamorphosed into India’s ‘Act East’ and Thailand’s ‘Act West” are strongly contributing to consolidation of bilateral relations including economic & commercial linkages. India’s partnership with Thailand also has a strong regional dimension in the context of India’s engagement with ASEAN and membership of groupings such as BIMSTEC, Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD). There has been regular high level exchanges between the two countries in the recent years and the closer political relationship has contributed to a new dynamism in economic and commercial ties.

3.The strategic location of Thailand in the heart of South East Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea makes it an important partner of India and is the gateway to the ASEAN, as the region has integrated into the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In the ASEAN region, Thailand ranks as India’s 5th largest trading partner after Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Bilateral trade between India and Thailand was US $ 14.94 billion in 2021 with exports from India to Thailand at US $ 6.40 billion and import from Thailand to India at US $ 8.54 billion.

4.The fast-growing Indian market remains attractive for Thai investors, given the vast opportunities available in infrastructure sector, agro and food processing, auto, pharmaceuticals & health, tourism and retail industries. India continues to remain an interesting market for export of goods from Thailand. An Early Harvest Scheme (EHS), covering 83 products, under the proposed India-Thailand Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), in place since September 2004, has significantly contributed to the growth in our bilateral trade. Thai goods have benefited from tax reduction under ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement, which came into effect from 01 January, 2010 resulting in flow of more goods into Indian market. During the ASEAN-India Economic Ministers Meeting in September, 2019 in Bangkok, both Sides have agreed to initiate the review of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIGA) to make it more user-friendly, simple and trade facilitative for businesses. The issue of the review of AITGA was discussed during the India-Thailand Joint Trade Committee on 4th December, 2020. The 19th AEM-India Consultation was held in Cambodia on 16 September, 2022, during which scope of the review of the AITIGA was endorsed.  To carry out the review, AITIGA Joint Committee has been activated.

Thai Economy

5.GDP of Thailand was US$ 505.6 billion with per capita GDP at approximately US$ 7,255.5 in 2021. Services sector has the largest share of Thailand’s GDP at around 60%, industrial sector contributes to around 32% and agriculture, which has been a mainstay of the rural economy contributes to around 8%. Wholesale and retail trade is the major contributor to the services sector and the Thai economy in 2021.

6.Global trade of Thailand was USD 538.77 billion USD in 2021, which increased by 23.06 % as compared to 2020. Total export of Thailand in 2021 was USD 271.17 billion USD which increased by 17.06 % as compared to 2020 and total import of Thailand was USD 267.60 billion, increased by 29.80 % as compared to 2020. Major trading partners of Thailand in 2021 were China, Japan, USA,  Malaysia, Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Thailand is a net exporter of agricultural commodities, and a major global producer of several crops such as rice, rubber, cassava etc. Thailand is also a net fish exporter. Thailand imports energy products to meet its consumption needs. Thailand has preferential trade agreements and Free Trade Agreements with countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, Peru, and Chile and implemented the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes the ASEAN Member States and its Free Trade Agreement Partners.

7.Total FDI into Thailand was around US $ 8.77 billion in 2021 with major investors including Japan, China, Singapore, USA, Taiwan and Australia. Besides agriculture, major industries include food processing, cement, integrated circuits, automotive parts and assembly, petroleum products, textiles, footwear, toys, furniture, synthetic fibre and tourism.

8.The Board of Investment (BOI) is Thailand's central investment promotion authority (government agency under the office of the Prime Minister). The BOI offers investment incentives for foreign investors which includes tax-based (including exemption for corporate income tax holidays) and non-tax incentives (visa and work permit, land ownership etc.). Recently BOI approved the addition of new BOI categories with attractive incentives to support the use of new technologies, namely manufacture and repair of high-precision machinery, equipment and parts (8-year CIT exemption), additive manufacturing (5-year CIT exemption), and production of electronics parts using microtechnology (8-year CIT exemption). BOI also started accepting applications to the new 10-year Long-Term Resident Visa (LTR) which aims to attract investors, talent, remote workers and retirees to live, work or invest in Thailand.  The four categories of individuals targeted by the LTR program are the “Wealthy Global Citizens” targeting investors, “Wealthy Pensioners” targeting retirees, “Work from Thailand Professionals” targeting remote workers, and “Highly Skilled Professionals” targeting talent and experts in key industries.

9.Thailand is keen to attract investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and other large infrastructure projects. The EEC Development Plan is expected to lead a significant development and transformation of Thailand’s investment in physical and social infrastructure in the area. The EEC project currently comprises 3 eastern provinces namely Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong. Indian companies have also been invited to invest in the EEC.

10.Thai government has adopted a new economic model called Thailand 4.0, which is focused on transforming Thailand into a value-based economy built upon science, technology, innovation and creativity. To this end, five existing high potential industries and an additional five new targeted industries have been identified as the “New Engines of Growth” driving the country into the future. Five existing targeted industries are; next generation automotive; smart electronics; affluent medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and bio technology; food for the future. Five new targeted industries are: Automation and Robotics; Aviation and Logistics; Biofuels & Biochemicals; Digital; Medical hub.

11.Thai Government has included the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) in its national agenda alongside Thailand 4.0. BCG will be a vehicle to modernize Thailand’s agricultural sector, establish national health security and reduce foreign dependency.  The BCG Strategic Plan will focus on 4 sectors, 1) food and agriculture, 2) medical and wellness, 3) bioenergy, biomatercial and biochemical, and 4) tourism and creative economy.

Bilateral Trade

12.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.

(amount in billion USD)


Total trade

Thai Export to India

Thai Import from India





























2022 (Jan-July




13.Major Indian Exports to Thailand: Jewellery including silver bars & gold; machinery and parts; metal waste scrap and products; chemicals; Vegetables and vegetable products; medicinal and pharmaceutical products; fresh aquatic animals, chilled, frozen, processed and instant, parts & accessories of vehicles; Iron, steel and products; electrical machinery & parts; coffee, tea and spices; electrical household appliances; Fabrics etc.

14.Major Indian Imports from Thailand: Animal or vegetable fats and oils; chemical products; polymers of ethylene, propylene, etc. in primary forms; precious stones and jewellery; iron and steel and their products; machinery and parts thereof; motor cars, parts & accessories; copper and articles thereof; aluminium products; spark-ignition reciprocating internal combustion piston;  automatic data processing machines and parts thereof; air conditioning machine and parts thereof;  rubber products; rubber etc.

15.As the second largest economy in the ASEAN region and with a population of around 66 million, Thailand offers good business opportunities for Indian companies.Cost-effectiveness and good after-sales support could work in favour of Indian companies in the Thai market. Indian industry can look to Thailand not only as a thriving market, but also as a gateway for doing business more widely in the region.

16.There is good scope for enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries. The potential sectors for cooperation are auto components and automotives; food processing; marine and animal products; pharmaceuticals including ayurveda products; machinery parts; electronic items; IT hardware and IT Enabled Services; steel and metal products; gems and jewellery, entertainment industry etc.


17.Approved Indian investment in Thailand during the last few years is as under [Source: BOI, Thailand]:


Investment (million USD )















2022 (Jan-June)


18.Investment from Thailand in India has increased in the recent years. Thai investments are mainly in infrastructure, real estate, Agro processing, electronics, automotive, food processing sectors, hotel hospitality sector and renewable energy sector. In 2021, Global Renewal Synergy Co., Ltd  made largest an investment of $453.29 million in India in renewable energy sector.  [Source: DPIIT, MOC, GOI]. Break-up of approved yearly FDI:


FDI inflow (in million USD)















2022 (Jan-June)


19.Major Indian companies in Thailand include Apollo Tyres (Thailand) Ltd, Camber Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd, Coforge Ltd (former NIIT),  Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (Thailand) Limited, Dee Development Engineers Ltd., Dhoot Transmission Pvt. Ltd, Intellect Design Arena Limited, Ivax Paper Chemicals Ltd., Innovative Gloves   Co., Ltd, Indian Overseas Bank, NRB Bearing (Thailand) Ltd,, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd, Kirloskar South East Asia Co., Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Limited, Polyplex (Thailand) Public Co. Ltd, Rajratan Global Wire Ltd., Parle Products Pvt. Ltd., Ranbaxy, Royal Enfield (Thailand) Limited, Saraff Group, Sicgil (Thailand) Ltd, SRF Industries (Thailand) Ltd, Tata group (Tata Steel Thailand, Tata Consultancy Services),Tech Mahindra, The Aditya Birla Group, The New India Assurance Co., Ltd, Triveni Turbines DMCC, Usha Siam Steel Industries PCL, and Wendt Grinding Technologies Ltd,

20.Leading Thai companies in the fields of Agro-processing, construction, automotive, engineering, hospitality, electronics, banking and renewal energy have active and growing business presence in India. Major Thai companies active in India are – Charoen Pokphand Group, Chia Tai Co., Ltd, Italian Thai Development PCL, The Thai Union Frozen Products PCL, Thai Summit Neel Auto Pvt. Ltd., Delta Electronics (Thailand) PCL, Eureka Design India Pvt. Ltd., Srithai Superware PCL (Melamine tableware manufacturing), Siam Makro PCL, Siam Cement Group (SCG), Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Limited, Dusit Group of Hotels, Vee Rubber Corporation Co., Ltd, Allied Metals(Thailand) Co., Ltd., Tong Garden Food Marketing Pvt. Ltd., Rockworth PCL, Ltd, Pranda Jewelry Pvt. Ltd., Krung Thai Bank PCL., Global Renewal Synergy Co., Ltd, Aapico Hitech PCL , Shera PCL, and Dutch Mill Thailand.

21.Overall there is a good connectivity between India and Thailand. The 1,360 km long India- Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, once connected will connect India with Thailand through Myanmar. The road will connect Moreh in Manipur to Mae Sot in Thailand via Myanmar. The completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway would be a milestone in our connectivity with Thailand, and further connecting India with other ASEAN nations. The IMT Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) is under negotiation among the three countries.

22.Port Authorities of both the countries are actively collaborating with each other to boost mutual cooperation in various fields. Three MoUs were signed between Ranong Port and Indian ports in Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Kolkata during the BIMSTEC Ports Conclave held from 7-9 November, 2019 in Vishakapatnam, India. Earlier on August 15, 2019 an MoU was also signed between Ranong Port and Krishnapatnam Port of India in Bangkok.

23.Ministry of AYUSH of India and Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand are in discussions to sign an MoU on Cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy. As suggested by Thai side, Ministry of AYUSH of India has agreed to sign the Institute level MoU with DTAM, Thailand and identified "National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur" as Indian partner.  The discussion on latest revision of MoU and possible collaborating activities under MoU were discussed on 29 August, 2022 via virtual platform.  The Thai side will translate final MoU into Thai  and submit both version of the language to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand for consideration.

24.Air connectivity between India and Thailand is good. There are around 200 flights per week in post-Covid-19 which reflects recovery of tourism, trade and investment between the two countries. About 0.34 million Indian tourists visited Thailand in 2022 (Jan-July). The number of Thai tourists to India was around 0.16 million in 2020. All major airlines of India & Thailand operate between the two countries such as Air India, Vistara Airlines, Thai Airways, Thai Smile Airways, Air Asia, Indigo, Thai Lion Air, Go Air and Spicejet.

25.Current status of institutional mechanisms/Agreements for Trade Promotion between the two countries:

(a).The last meeting of the Joint Trade Committee on Trade & Investment (at JS/DG level) was held on 4 December 2020 during which issues concerning tariff, non-tariff barriers and market access were discussed.

(b).Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Thailand was signed in June 2015. Both Indian and Thai side have completed the ratification procedure and it came into existence in October 2015.

(c).An Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Thailand was signed in 1956 which was later superceded by another Agreement signed in Bangkok in 1969. Recently, Thailand has proposed a revision in Air Service Agreement, which is under consideration of Ministry of Civil Aviation, India.

(d).An MOU on trade & investment cooperation and facilitation between Government of Telangana, India and Ministry of Commerce, Government of Thailand has been signed on 11 April, 2022 for promotion and development of trade between the two sides.

(e)During the 9th JCM between India and Thailand held on 16-17 August, 2022, an MoU on Health and Medical Research Cooperation between Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India and Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), Thailand was signed.


September 2022