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Key Opportunities in Thailand

Thailand stands at the heart of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions.


Thailand is an important market for Western Australia. Its market size, the diversity of its industrial sector and its position as a regional manufacturing hub provide significant opportunities to further grow our two-way trade.

  • WA exported $1.6 billion and imported $2.3 billion of merchandise from Thailand.
  • WA accounted for 37% of Australia’s merchandise exports to Thailand.
  • Thailand was WA’s fourth largest import market in 2019, accounting for 7% of the state’s merchandise imports.
  • Thailand was WA’s 18th largest market for international visitors, accounting for 1% of international visitors.
  • Thailand was WA’s 22nd largest market for international students, accounting for 1% of international student enrolments.
  • Australia and Thailand have two free trade agreements: Thailand – Australia Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) and ASEAN – Australia – New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA)


Currently, there are more than 200 Australian businesses operating in Thailand. Significant tax and non-tax incentives are available to Australian businesses that invest in Thailand. In 2020, Thailand has identified 11 targeted industries for investment that are essential to the country’s development and attract significant investment. In some cases, Australian businesses could receive up to 13 years of corporate income tax exemption through the Thailand Board of Investment.
  • Major Australian investments into Thailand include automotive, logistics, advanced manufacturing, technology and services.
  • Major Thai investments into Australia include hotels, energy and resources, agribusiness and industrial services.
  • In 2019, there were 11 Australian investment projects in Thailand, worth over A$200 million.

Why Thailand

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International Competitiveness

  • Thailand was ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year on the US News & World Report’s chart of the Best Countries to start a Business 2020.
  • It is ranked 21st in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2020 as a result of a significant investment in human capital and improved government efficiencies.
  • Thailand was rated 26th in the 2020 edition of the US News & World Report’s Best Countries report, which evaluated 73 countries based on 75 metrics such as quality
    of life, economic influence, power, education and eco-friendliness.
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  • Thailand is supporting investment by boosting its domestic talent pool, raising education standards across the spectrum from vocational education to research and higher education. This investment is providing significant opportunities for Western Australian higher and vocational education institutions.
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Digital Economy

  • Thailand’s digital economy is expanding at a rapid rate, following major investments in ICT infrastructure. The country is now implementing its Thailand 4.0 strategy, to
    upgrade the economy and transition into a digital innovation hub.
  • Over the past five years more than 25 Australian digital and services companies have established operations in Thailand, with significant incentives available for further investment in the country.
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Health and Technology

  • Thailand has cemented its reputation as the medical hub of Asia. It is among the
    top five destinations for inbound medical tourism spending globally, with around 3.3 million foreign patients travelling to Thailand each year for medical treatments.
  • Western Australia’s medical device, biotechnology and pharmaceutical businesses
    are well placed to take advantage of Thailand’s growing medical tourism hub and digital health transformation.
  • Thailand’s healthcare is ranked 6th best in the world in CEOWORLD’s 2019 survey of 89 countries.
  • John Hopkins University also ranked Thailand 6th best among 195 countries providing the strongest health security, as was reported at the Global Health Security Agenda Steering Group Meeting in November 2019. Thailand was the only developing country among the global top 10.
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Food and Wine

  • Thailand is the manufacturing, processing and distribution centre of Southeast Asia, with more than 10,000 food manufacturers alone. It is also home to one of the biggest agribusiness conglomerates, the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP), which has extensive investments and production in over 20 countries.
  • The Thai Government’s policy to present Thailand as the ‘kitchen of the world’ provides Australian exporters with an opportunity to supply quality raw materials for the manufacture of food products.