Economic brief Economic brief

Economic brief

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$ 495 billion in 2022. GDP growth rate of Thailand was 2.6 % in 2022. 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.

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.

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 $ 17.70 billion in 2022 with exports from India to Thailand at US $ 7.17 billion and import from Thailand to India at US $ 10.52 billion. (Source: Ministry of Commerce of Thailand)

The fast-growing Indian market remains attractive for Thai investors, given the vast opportunities available in infrastructure sector, agro and food processing, automotive & auto parts, pharmaceuticals & health, tourism and retail industries & renewable energy. 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 of 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, held in Bangkok, both sides 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

GDP of Thailand was US$ 495 billion with per capita GDP at approximately US$ 7,089.7 in 2022. Services sector has the largest share of Thailand’s GDP at around 58.70%, industrial sector contributes to around 32.48% and agriculture, which has been a mainstay of the rural economy contributes to around 8.82%. Wholesale and retail trade formed major part of services sector and the Thai economy.

Global trade of Thailand stood at USD 590.25 billion in 2022, and registered growth of 9.53 % from 2021. Total export of Thailand in 2022 was USD 287.06 billion registering growth of 5.53 % from 2021 and total import of Thailand was USD 303.19 billion, which grew by 13.60 % as compared to 2021. Major trading partners of Thailand in 2022 were China, USA, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, UAE, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and India. 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. Other major items by Thailand are Chemicals, Electrical Machines, electronic integrated circuits, jewellery and iron & steel product. Thailand has preferential trade agreements and Free Trade Agreements with the following countries:

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.

Total FDI into Thailand was around US $ 9.13 billion in 2022 with major investing countries 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.

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 include 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.

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.

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.

Thai Government has recently 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) bio-energy, bio-material and biochemical, and 4) tourism and creative economy.

Bilateral Trade

Bilateral Trade between the two countries has increased manifold in recent years.

(amount in billion USD)


Total trade

Thai Export to India

Thai Import from India

































(Source: Ministry of Commerce of Thailand)

As per the DOC, India data- Bilateral trade in FY 2021-22 stood at 15.08 billion.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Approved Indian investment in Thailand during the last few years is as under;


Investment (million USD )

















[Source: BOI, Thailand]

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 Renewable Synergy Co., Ltd made largest an investment of $453.29 million in India in renewable energy sector. Break-up of approved yearly FDI:


FDI inflow (in million USD)

















[Source: DPIIT, MOC, GOI]

Major Indian companies present 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,

Leading Thai companies in the fields of Agro-processing, construction, automotive, engineering, hospitality, electronics, banking and renewable 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 Renewable Synergy Co., Ltd, Aapico Hitech PCL , Shera PCL, and Dutch Mill Thailand.

Overall there is a good connectivity between India and Thailand. The 1,360 km long India- Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, once completed 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.

Port Authorities of both the countries are actively collaborating with each other to boost direct port-to-port connectivity. 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.

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. Indian tourists are the second largest group after Malaysia to visit Thailand in 2022. 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.

Ministry of AYUSH of India and Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand are in discussions to finalize 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 collaboration under MoU were discussed on 29 August, 2022 via video conference. 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.

Institutional Mechanisms:

Joint Trade Committee (JTC) (at JS/DG level)

A joint Trade Committee between the two countries has been established. The last meeting of JTC was hosted by Indian side on 4 December 2020 after a gap of 17 years via video conference. During the JTC, both sides reviewed the progress in Trade & investment and related issues concerning tariff, non-tariff barriers and market access were discussed. Next meeting will be hosted by Thai side in Bangkok on 24 February, 2023.

India-Thailand Joint Business Forum (ITJBF)

The first meeting of the India-Thailand Joint Business Forum was held during the visit of Thai PM Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha to Delhi in June 2016. CII is the lead organisation from Indian side at this Forum, while Thailand-India Business Council (TIBC) is the lead from Thai side.

CII & TIBC have been requested to hold the next meeting, however, CII on 25.07.2022 had informed that list of members of Forum is being reviewed and meeting will probably be held in end September or early October, 2022. CII has been reminded by this Mission and response is awaited.

Agreements for Commercial cooperation between the two countries:

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.

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.

India and Thailand had agreed upon an Air Travel Bubble Arrangement which became operational on 1 March 2022. However, as the GoI decided to resume scheduled international passenger flight services with effect from 27 March 2022.

Thai Side has proposed to hold a new round of air services consultation in Bangkok. A draft Air Services Agreement was also shared which is under consideration of Ministry of Civil Aviation, India.

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

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

Events organised in FY2022-23:

1.CEO’s meet chaired by MoS (C&I) Smt. Anupriya Patel was organised on 24 May, 2022 during her visit to attend UNESCAP meeting.

2.A commercial outreach and tourism promotion event was organised at Nakhom Pathom Province in June, 2022, which was attended by Deputy Governor and senior functionaries of Federation of Thai Industries – Nakhom Pathom Chapter and Tourism Council of Thailand

3.2ndNorth-East India Festival was organised in the month on 29-31 July, 2022 in Bangkok. During the event, Embassy organised Trade & Investment Meet,Tourism Meet and People to People Contact meeting, which were chaired by Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs. Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Deputy Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh also attended the event alongwith Ministers from different North-Eastern States. From the Government of Thailand Minister of Commerce and Minister of Culture attended.

4.“Buddhabhoomi – journey in the footsteps of Buddha” was organised in the month of August, 2022 to promote Buddhist pilgrimage tourism amongst Thai people. The event was jointly organised by the Embassy, Triratnabhoomi Society of Thailand and International Buddhist Council (IBC). Senior Thai religious figures, Minister of Culture of Thailand, Tourism & Culture Minister of Madhya Pradesh attended the event.

5.A commercial outreach and tourism promotion event was organised at Surat Thani Province on 7thOctober, 2022, which was attended by Deputy Governor and senior functionaries of Federation of Thai Industries – Surat Thani Chapter, Surat Thani Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Council of Thailand. Mission presented trade and investment opportunities in India. India’s tourism products with special focus on Buddhist circuit were also showcased.

6.A trade and tourism outreach event - 'Business Opportunities in India and Incredible India' was held in Songkhla province on 16 December, 2022 in which leading chamber/organization, and business leaders from Southern region of Thailand participated. Deputy Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand - Songkhla Office and Mr. Dharmendra Singh, First Secretary (Economic&Commerce) delivered remarks at the seminar.