and Imports of Manufacturing Goods
has moved from being heavily dependent upon the export of
agricultural commodities (less than 3 percent of exports being
manufactured products) in 1960, to its current position, where
over 80 percent of its exports are manufactured goods, and the
export sector is the principal engine of growth for the Thai
exports have experienced double-digit annual growth de to the
dynamism of the sector itself, combined with consistent
government policies promoting free trade and fair competition.
These policies have paid off.
present export structure reveals a greater diversity (in terms
of both products and markets) than most of her competitors,
including the East Asian dragons. Thailand is the world's
largest source of precision ball bearings, for example, and will
soon become Honda's largest production base for worldwide export.
In agricultural products, Thailand is the world largest exporter
of frozen shrimp, canned seafood, tapioca and canned pineapple.
The top twenty export items include a growing number of
industrial products and new entrants are seen every year.
the late 1980s and early 1990s, Thailand's exports have
increasingly included electrical products, integrated circuits,
and computers and their components. In 1990, electrical consumer
goods registered growth of over 54 percent, while computers and
components grew by more than 44 percent.
1993, manufactured exports (which accounted for over 80 percent
of total export value) expanded at a 17.7 percent to 747 billion
baht, an increase of 17.7 percent from the previous year.
1994, exports grew faster than anticipated, with export earnings
exceeding 1.000 billion baht, claiming a market share of more
than 1 percent of the world's exports for the first time. The
growth rate of around 19 percent was observed in all categories.
Manufacturing and fishery exports, in particular, grew by 20
percent and the continued development of the production
efficiency for new manufactured items was evidenced by an
exceptional increase in exports of products requiring high
technology, such as vehicles and parts, electrical appliances
and computers and computer parts.
United States continued to be Thailand's largest market, with
overall exports growing more than 9 percent. More than 80
percent of exports to the United States were manufactured
products, and major items which recorded significant increase
were textiles, computer parts and components, electrical circuit
breakers, integrated circuits and parts. The second most
important export market was Japan. Over 60 percent of exports to
Japan were manufactured products, with major exports being
electrical appliances, furniture and parts, electrical circuit
breakers and integrated circuits. Export to ASEAN countries
expanded at more than 30 percent in 1993.
the import side, the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector
has created a large demand for a growing range of intermediate
goods. Thailand currently imports large quantities of capital
goods, raw materials, and intermediate goods each year. From
1988, when total imports reached about 501.4 billion baht, (a
record increase of 46.6 percent), imports have seen consistent
growth reaching 1,337 billion baht in 1994.
value of imported capital goods increased substantially
throughout the late 1980s. The import values of raw materials
and intermediate goods increased by 50.1 percent, with prices
rising by 24 percent and volume increasing by 21 percent. Import
values of basic metals grew by 75 percent, with imports of iron
and steel rising by 72 percent. Imports of raw materials used in
the production of consumer goods also increased significantly.
Import values of chemicals grew by 34.5 percent and precious
stone imports jumped by 74 percent.
1992, the value of exports registered substantial growth to
approximately 824 billion baht, and the value of imports also
rose considerably to about 1,033 billion baht. In line with the
buoyant expansion in economic activities, imports in 1994 rose
by 17 percent, with a volume growth of 15.6 percent.
the acceleration in domestic expenditure, the imports of capital
goods and consumer goods increased markedly, while the import of
raw materials and semifinished products grew in line with the
expansion of manufactured exports. Other imports, particularly
fully-assembled automobiles and parts, moderated after rapid
growth in 1993.
to the rapid growth of exports relative to imports, the trade
deficit rose slightly to 240.5 billion baht but declined as a
proportion of GDP for the fourth consecutive year to 6.7 percent;
Thailand's trade deficit is due primarily to the import of
capital goods and raw materials used for investment and
increasing the country's production capacity in the future.
However, recognizing this dependence on foreign supplies, the
government encourages investment in capital goods and
intermediate products which add value to the basic raw materials
that are exported. Throughout the 1990s, export-oriented
business will continue to display strong performance and