Thailand Country profile

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In 2016 Thailand was Australia’s 14th largest trading partner, making up 1.4% of Australia’s total trade. Exports reached A$4,685m in 2016 made up largely of crude petroleum exports, gold, aluminium and coal. But there has been a significant increase in demand for Australian fruit—Thailand was Australia’s largest mandarin export market in 2016. On the other side of the ledger, there have been an estimated A$16,564m worth of imports from Thailand, dominated by passenger motor vehicles, and heating/cooling equipment.

Looking ahead Australian exporters could benefit from the strong growth in the e-commerce market, currently growing at 12.4% p.a.. Thai demand for electronics will also benefit from the construction of a national broadband network under the “Thailand 4.0” policy.

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The volume of Thai tourists visiting Australia has been consistent since 2004. Though the depreciation of the AUD against the Bhat could be behind the increase since 2015.

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Australia also exported approximately A$1,215m of services to Thailand in FY2017 — of which A$806m was education exports. Thailand is Australia’s fourth largest source of international students — with 30,400 enrolments in 2016 (4% of total).

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In terms of foreign investment stocks, Thailand is a marginal investor in Australia, owning a portfolio of just A$3.1b in 2016 (less than 0.1% of the total foreign investment stock). Australia’s largest investors remain traditional markets — the US with A$860b and the UK with A$515b. But regional flows are expanding quickly — ASEAN contributed 4% of inward foreign investment flows in 2016.

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Thailand is a minuscule destination for Australian investment abroad (0.2% of the total in 2016). Australia’s investment in Thailand rose to A$4.4b in 2016 from A$2.9b in 2014. The US (A$617b) and UK (A$350b) remain the leading destinations for Australia’s foreign investment.

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