Trading Partner Portal: Thailand

Overview

Trade Overview

usa_thailand_ca_flagsThailand is located in the lush lower Mekong river sub Basin of South East Asia with an estimated standing population of nearly 68 million people.

Thailand’s economy has generally grown within the last decade, averaging above four percent per year from 2000-2007. Though affected by the financial crisis, Thailand’s economy greatly rebounded in 2010 with a growth of 7.8%. Due to unexpected environmental disasters in Thailand’s northern region, their 2011 growth rate was severely affected however. While Thailand’s economy temporarily rebounded in 2012, it contracted slightly in 2013 with a growth rate of 2.9%, becoming stagnant with a 1% in 2014, and then began to grow again steadily with a growth rate of of 3.2% for 2016. CIA Factbook

California Exports to ThailandThe United States imported approximately $29.5 billion from Thailand in 2016. That same year, the U.S. exported $10.5 billion.

In 2016, California exported $1.49 billion to Thailand. California’s main exports include, but are not limited to: computer and electronics, $679 million (453.5%); miscellaneous manufactured commodities, $135 million (9.1%)and food, roughly $110 million (7.4%). U.S. Department of Commerce

On the reverse side, in 2016, California imported $10 billion. Our main imports were: computer and electronics, $5.2 billion (51.7%); food manufactures, $854 million (8.5%); transportation equipment, $566 million (5.6%); and plastics and rubber, $522 million (5.2%). U.S. Department of Commerce

According to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, Thailand is the fifth largest trading partner of the Los Angeles Customs District which includes the seaports of Hueneme (in Ventura County), Long Beach and Los Angeles, and Los Angeles and Ontario international airports.

United States and Thailand Reaffirm Commitment to Expand Trade and Investment Ties
USTR, April 20, 2016

At the 2012 California Consular Corps reception, the Thai delegation looks on as Governor Brown talks with Sotiris K Kolokotronis, President of SKK Developments and Sacramento Host Committee member.

Thailand and California

According to the Thai American Chamber of Commerce in California, California is home to some 200,000 Thais, the largest Thai population outside of Thailand.

California is home to many Thai businesses, among them Thai Airways, Kasikorn Bank (Thailand’s second largest commercial bank), Krung Thai Bank and Chang Beer. Apart from the influence of these larger companies, aspects of Thai culture have found niche markets in America, from Spa and Massage services; Buddhist influenced beauty and health programs, and Thai boxing clubs. However, perhaps most famous in California is their food business. Los Angeles alone is home to about 700 Thai restaurants

Thai Town
Los Angeles is home to the only Thai Town in the world, having occupied a section of East Hollywood since 1999. Thai town is operated by the Thai Community Development Center, a non-profit organization created in 1994 with the expressed goals of creating “a thriving community by creating businesses and jobs, developing decent and affordable housing, and revitalizing public space”.
THAI Town in Los Angeles

Multi-Lateral Cooperation

Thailand’s Multi-Lateral Cooperation

Thailand is a member of several multi-lateral organizations which have increased Thailand’s presence both in the region and globally. They are currently a member of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), The Mekong River Commission, and the Greater Mekong Sub Region (an IGO created through the Asian Development Bank).

Through these organizations and bi-lateral relations with the United States, there has been increased development in Thailand’s infrastructure, as well as environmental impact analysis and studies for continued economic growth. The United States also pledged $187 million for the Lower Mekong Initiative, which “has the stated aim of improving education, health, infrastructure, and the environment in the region”. (Lee, John. “China’s Water Grab.” Foreign Policy)

The initiative was negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. U.S. State Department

Event

Thai Delegation Visits CalChamber

(May 22, 2012) A delegation, consisting of representatives of the Thai government and members of the Thai American Chamber of Commerce in California visited the CalChamber offices to discuss trade promotion.

Pictured left to right are: Consul Noradee Tantramongkol, Royal Thai Consulate General, Los Angeles, Mr. Polthep Inturat, Member of Board of Directors of the Thai American Chamber of Commerce of California,  Consul General Jesda Katavetin, Royal Thai Consulate General, Los Angeles, Mrs. Susanne Stirling, Vice President International Affairs, California Chamber of Commerce, and Mr. Don Chukiat, Advisor to the Thai American Chamber of Commerce of California.