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Why Thailand?

  • Thailand is situated in the heart of Southeast Asia with the total area of 513,115 sq.km (similar to France)
  • Thailand is a hub of Southeast Asia and a gateway to Indochina, Myanmar and Southern China
  • Thailand ranks 12th in terms of ease of doing business according to the Doing Business 2010 report from the World Bank Group
  • Thailand is an agricultural country, self-sufficient in food production. Approx. 40% of the land is used for agricultural production, with almost 50% of the agricultural land is used for growing rice. Other major agricultural products include rubber, maize, tapioca, and sugar cane
  • It's major industries are food processing, cement, integrated circuits, automotive parts and assembly, petroleum products, textiles, footwear, toys, furniture, synthetic fibre and tourism
  • In the wake of the global financial crisis (GFC) Thailand's real GDP growth in 2009 was -2.3 per cent but it appears to be bouncing back strongly. The IMF has forecast growth of between 7 and 8 per cent in 2010. Thailand's export sector, which accounts for around 70 per cent of the country's GDP, is growing rapidly after suffering a downturn during the GFC. The Ministry of Commerce is aiming for export growth of 19 per cent in 2010
  • The Thai Government adopted a two-stage fiscal stimulus response to address the effects of the GFC. The first phase, introduced in February 2009, was aimed at stimulating domestic purchasing power through cash handouts. The second phase of stimulus spending being released over the 2010-12 period includes a range of large scale infrastructure projects.

Australia and Thailand have longstanding and deep connections, and cooperate in a broad range of areas of mutual interest, including trade and investment, law enforcement, counter-terrorism, education, security, migration and tourism. Formal diplomatic relations were established between Australia and Thailand in 1952. The bilateral relationship is facilitated by mutual membership of bodies such as the EAS, APEC, the ASEAN PMC, and the Cairns Group.

Our strong bilateral relations are reflected in extensive people-to-people links. Australia continues to be a leading destination for Thai students, while Thailand attracts large numbers of Australians for tourism and business. Prior to Thailand's decision in 2003 to decline development assistance Australia was a major aid partner. Many Thais studied in Australia under the Colombo Plan and other programs.

Australia's trade and economic relationship with Thailand has grown strongly since the entry into force of the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) on 1 January 2005. Two-way merchandise trade was worth $16 billion in 2009, up from $7 billion in 2004. Two-way services trade with Thailand was worth $3.3 billion in 2009. TAFTA has also improved business mobility, strengthened transparency, encouraged international best practice, and promoted bilateral cooperation in a range of areas including customs procedures, government procurement, competition policy and intellectual property protection. Australia and Thailand are also parties to the recently concluded negotiations on the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, signed on 27 February 2009.

A treaty-level Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation entered into force on 27 July 2005. It complements TAFTA by providing a framework for future bilateral cooperation in non-trade areas, including security and law enforcement, environment and heritage, science and technology, telecommunications, civil aviation, public administration, energy, immigration, education, culture and social development.

Ai Group's Trade and Export Development team are ready to assist you with the process of better understanding this increasingly important market and the exciting opportunities it offers Australian exporters. Should you require more information, please contact Ai Group on tel: (03) 9867 0152 or trade@aigroup.asn.au.