Thailand’s Top 10 Exports

Flag of Thailand


Thailand shipped US$236 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017, up by 3.3% since 2013 and up by 10.5% from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Thailand’s exported goods plus services represent 70.4% of total Thai economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 63.9% of Thai exports by value are delivered to other Asian countries while 13.1% are sold to North American importers. Thailand ships another 12.5% worth to Europe with just 2.9% going to Africa.

Given Thailand’s population of about 68.4 million people, its total $236 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $3,500 for every resident in that country.

Thailand’s unemployment rate was 0.8% as of December 2016 according to Trading Economics, up from 0.65% one year earlier.

Thailand’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Thai global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Thailand.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Thailand’s most valuable exported products are cars followed by computers, electronic integrated circuits and gold.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$40.2 billion (17% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $34.1 billion (14.4%)
  3. Vehicles: $28.5 billion (12.1%)
  4. Rubber, rubber articles: $16.3 billion (6.9%)
  5. Gems, precious metals: $12.8 billion (5.4%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $12.7 billion (5.4%)
  7. Mineral fuels including oil: $8.2 billion (3.5%)
  8. Meat/seafood preparations: $6.3 billion (2.7%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $5.7 billion (2.4%)
  10. Cereals: $5.4 billion (2.3%)

Thailand’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (72.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Fastest-growing product categories year over year were rubber and rubber articles (up 33.8%), mineral fuels including oil (up 31.8%), and cereals (up 17.1%) specifically higher global sales of rice.

Only the gems and precious metals category declined in value via a -9.6% setback caused principally by the lower value of exported Thai gold.


Thailand earned an overall $10.9 billion trade surplus for 2017, down -39.1% from $17.9 billion during 2016.

The following types of Thai product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Vehicles: US$19.3 billion (Up by 5.1% since 2016)
  2. Rubber, rubber articles: $13.7 billion (Up by 37.5%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $12.9 billion (Up by 17.7%)
  4. Meat/seafood preparations: $6 billion (Up by 6.8%)
  5. Cereals: $4.7 billion (Up by 32.3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $4 billion (Up by 19.8%)
  7. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $2.7 billion (Up by 10.5%)
  8. Wood: $2.3 billion (Up by 21.3%)
  9. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $2 billion (Down by -3%)
  10. Miscellaneous food preparations: $1.4 billion (Up by 13.3%)

Thailand has highly positive net exports in the international trade of automobiles with cars and trucks creating larger surpluses than auto parts and motorcycles. These cashflows indicate Thailand’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.


Below are exports from Thailand that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Thailand’s goods trail Thai importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$23.4 billion (Up by 27.4% since 2016)
  2. Iron, steel: -$9.3 billion (Up by 8.5%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$8.2 billion (Down by -6.4%)
  4. Other chemical goods: -$2.9 billion (Up by 34.5%)
  5. Articles of iron or steel: -$2.8 billion (Up by 10.2%)
  6. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$2.6 billion (Up by 54.8%)
  7. Gems, precious metals: -$2.4 billion (Reversing a $5.5 billion surplus)
  8. Copper: -$2.1 billion (Up by 23%)
  9. Aluminum: -$1.9 billion (Up by 16.7%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.8 billion (Up by 6.2%)

Thailand has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for the mineral fuels category. Under that category Thailand’s greatest shortfalls are for crude oil, petroleum gases and coal.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Thailand’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Thailand to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations in alternative energy sources.


Thai Export Companies

Fifteen Thai corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major companies headquartered in Thailand that Forbes included:

  • PTT PCL (energy)
  • Siam Cement (specialized chemicals)
  • PTT Global Chemical (diversified chemicals)
  • Thai Beverage (beverages)
  • Thai Oil (oil, gas)
  • Total Access Communication (telecommunications)

According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are examples of smaller Thai exporters:

  • Dole Thailand (pineapples, plastic boxes/cases, fruit mixtures)
  • Thai Agri Foods Public (non-alcoholic beverages, nuts, fruit/vegetable juices)
  • Dana Spicer Thailand (automotive parts, latex, rubber transmission belts)
  • Minson Enterprises Thailand (footwear, skates, sporting equipment)
  • British Millerain Thailand (textile fabrics, vulcanized rubber, coconut yarn)

Thailand’s capital city is Bangkok.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See alsoThailand’s Top 10 Major Export Companies, Thailand’s Top Trading Partners and Highest Value Thai Export Products

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 14, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Thailand. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Zepol’scompany summary highlights by country. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 14, 2018