Thailand : Trade Balance, Exports and Imports

Map of Thailand

Historically, maybe a bit surprising for some, Thailand has a negative trade balance with the rest of the world, most of the time. If a positive trade balance is present, it remains relatively small (see period between 2001-2010)

Of course, if not for crude oil imports, the trade balance would be positive all the time. This applies to a lot of other countries as well.

Notice the striking trade deficits in the 1995-2000 period. This is around the 1997 Asian economic crisis, which started off in Thailand. I remember reading at the time preceding the crisis, that the country was importing a lot of 'capital goods', which was reportedly a good thing. Obviously too much of a good thing, turned out to be bad at the time.
In 2014, there was a tiny trade deficit recorded of about 380 million U.S. Dollar
For those interested : data for 2013

Trade Balance Thailand with the Rest of the World, from 1991 to 2014.

Trade Balance Thailand-Rest of the World 1991-2014


Total exports from Thailand by value in 2014 amounted to 227.58 billion U.S. Dollars. this was slightly lower than exports in 2013 at 228.50 U.S. Dollars

Below are listed the most important export products by value in U.S Dollar for 2014.
Some comments :

Car exports, including accessories and parts, motorcycles, has become a main industry in Thailand. If I recall well the country is at present the 10th car manufacturer in the world.

Computer related products (automatic data processing, electronic integrated circuits), as well as chemical products (when including ethylene and propylene) are major export products.

Rubber and rubber products feature large, Thailand being the prime rubber producer in the world. Export value for 2014 was lower than before, due to low international rubber prices.

Compared to industrial manufactured goods, exports of food products (while a big chunk of the population is still working in the food industry) are more limeted : fish (tuna, shrimp), tapioca and rice are most prominent.

Exported Goods from Thailand to the World in 2014, by Value in U.S. Dollars

Exported Products from Thailand


Asean countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Brunei) take the largest chunk out of Thai exports. In a second group : China, U.S.A., all of Europe, and Japan, are of almost equal importance).

Export Destinations for Products from Thailand in 2014, by Value in U.S. Dollars

Export destination of Thai products

Thailand imported goods valued at 227.95 billion U.S. Dollars in 2014. This was substantially lower than in 2013, when imports stood at 250.41 U.S. Dollars.

Imported goods into Thailand :

The major imported good by value, fuelling the Thai economy, is crude oil. However, import value of crude oil decreased from 39.35 (2013) to 33.22 billion U.S. Dollar in 2014, due to lower oil prices.

Gold and silver interestingly, are one of the most important items. All the gold shops you see around Bangkok and Thailand, have to be provided with their gold, since Thailand has only a very limited own production.

Household appliances, despite all you the imported goods one sees on sale in the department stores, are a relatively minor post. It is dwarfed by all the industrial goods such as machinery, iron, steel, chemicals, computers, etc.

Also relevant is the minor contribution of medicines (less than 3 billion U.S. Dollar). This despite the fact that there are quite a few of top medical facilities and a very prominent medical tourism industry.
It reflects the fact that health expenditure in Thailand overall is still very low, at about 3.9 % of GDP (fact and figures, reported by Bangkok Post, Januari 2014).

Imported Goods into Thailand, by Value in U.S. Dollars, 2014

Japan, the ASEAN countries, China, and all of Europe, provide the bulk of imported goods into Thailand. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia (despite a long lasting diplomatic row), Qatar, apparently provide most of the imported crude oil.


The U.S.A. (when compared to its importance as an export market for Thai goods), is of relatively less importance as an exporter to Thailand.

For both imports and exports, China has become the most important trading partner for Thailand.

Import Origins fo Goods imported to Thailand in 2014, in U.S. Dollar by Country

Trade balance between Thailand and its most relevant trading partners.


The trade deficit in 2013 was 22.7 billion U.S. Dollar. In 2014 just a deficit of 380 million U.S. Dollar.

Thailand has substantial trade deficits with both China and Japan. There is also a substantial Thai-Japanese industry, exporting to the world from Thailand.

Thailand has a substantial trade surplus with the ASEAN countries and with the U.S.A. Trade with Europe is well balanced in 2014.

Thailand may run a trade deficit most of the time. But do not forget a big chunk of money comes in through tourism. Revenue from tourism in 2012 (more in 2014), was 34 billion U.S. Dollars.

Trade Balance of Thailand with Asean, U.S.A., China, Japan and Europe, in U.S. Dollars

Sources : Ministry of Commerce. Use this deep link to get there . If you want to go deeper into this material, you should follow the link at : MENUCOM(ENG). Please do not blame us, if this info becomes invalid.