That dollar figure represents roughly 1.5% of overall global exports estimated at $17.503 trillion on year earlier during 2020.
The 5 biggest trading partners purchasing Thailand’s exported goods were the United States of America, mainland China, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia. Collectively, that quintet of major customers bought almost half (47.5%) of overall Thai exports in 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 62.9% of Thailand’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 17.2% was sold to importers in North America. Thailand shipped another 10.4% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (4.8%) led by Australia and New Zealand, Africa (2.6%) then Latin America (2.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Thailand’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Thailand’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Thai shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Thai exports.
- United States: US$41.2 billion (15.4% of total Thai exports)
- China: $36.6 billion (13.7%)
- Japan: $24.6 billion (9.2%)
- Vietnam: $12.3 billion (4.6%)
- Malaysia: $11.9 billion (4.5%)
- Hong Kong: $11.4 billion (4.3%)
- Australia: $10.7 billion (4%)
- Singapore: $8.84 billion (3.3%)
- Indonesia: $8.76 billion (3.3%)
- India: $8.40 billion (3.1%)
- Cambodia: $7 billion (2.6%)
- Philippines: $6.9 billion (2.6%)
- South Korea: $5.8 billion (2.2%)
- Netherlands: $5.2 billion (2%)
- Germany: $4.9 billion (1.8%)
- Taiwan: $4.6 billion (1.7%)
- Myanmar: $4.2 billion (1.6%)
- Laos: $3.9 billion (1.5%)
- United Kingdom: $3.4 billion (1.3%)
- South Africa: $3 billion (1.1%)
- Mexico: $2.8 billion (1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $2.7 billion (1%)
- Belgium: $1.94 billion (0.7%)
- Brazil: $1.89 billion (0.7%)
- France: $1.87 billion (0.7%)
A formidable 88.1% of Thai exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Singapore was the only top importer that decreased its purchases from Thailand from 2020 to 2021, down in value by -6.2%. Among the other 24 countries, gains ranged from a minimum of 1.9% for Hong Kong up to 55.7% for India.
Countries Causing the Greatest Trade Deficits for Thailand
Thailand posted an overall -$1.5 billion deficit for 2021, reversing a $20.7 billion trade surplus one year earlier in 2020.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Thailand incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: -US$29.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Japan: -$11 billion
- United Arab Emirates: -$7 billion
- Taiwan: -$5.9 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$4.2 billion
- South Korea: -$4.1 billion
- Switzerland: -$3.7 billion
- Qatar: -$3 billion
- Thailand: -$2.7 billion
- Brazil: -$1.5 billion
Among Thailand’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Thailand’s deficits with Japan (up 113.9%), United Arab Emirates (up 105%) and Qatar (up 80.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
In addition, Thailand transitioned from posting a $5.3 billion surplus trading with Switzerland in 2020 to enduring a -$3.7 billion trade deficit for 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Thailand’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Thailand to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating the Largest Trade Surpluses for Thailand
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Thailand incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States: US$26.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Hong Kong: $8.6 billion
- Cambodia: $6.1 billion
- Vietnam: $5.4 billion
- Australia: $4.3 billion
- Netherlands: $4.2 billion
- Philippines: $3.1 billion
- South Africa: $2.2 billion
- Mexico: $2 billion
- India: $1.98 billion
Among Thailand’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Thailand’s surpluses with India (up 79.1%), Philippines (up 58.8%) and the United States of America (up 40.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Thailand’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Thailand to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Thailand Major Exports 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 IMPORTERS.com listings for Thai suppliers, the following are examples of companies that ship products from Thailand to its trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis are products that the Thai business provides.
- Dplus Intertrade Co,Ltd (LCD screen protectors)
- Dr.Sandals Online (hand-made sandals)
- Grand Asia Food Industry Company (canned fruits, vegetables)
- Kitthaworn Trading Co, Ltd (artificial flowers)
- LYR Premium Partnership, Ltd (printed T-shirts)
- Mae Chan Winery (wines)
- NF Trading Thailand Ltd (charcoal)
- Penta Pal Trading Co, Ltd (freeze-dried tropical fruits)
- S.T.Rubber Factory, Ltd (automotive, rubber-related)
- Somjit Trading & Services Co,Ltd (clothing manufacturer)
- Victory Gypsum Board Co, Ltd (ceiling tiles)
See also Thailand’s Top 10 Exports, Thailand’s Top 10 Imports and Thailand’s Top 10 Major Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 20, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 20, 2022
IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Germany Import Export Directory. Accessed on February 2, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 20, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 20, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on March 20, 2022