The Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE) has reported that exports for agricultural products increased by 17 percent in 2021.
OAE’s secretary-general Chanthanon Wankhajorn disclosed that Thai agricultural exports totaled 1.3 trillion baht from January to December last year. This is a 17% increase from 2020.
The secretary-general stated that due to the high value of exports, Thailand has a trade surplus of Bt813.69 billion baht in agricultural trade. Bilateral agricultural trade with other ASEAN countries rose 4.86 percent to 422.75 billion baht.
Thailand’s agricultural exports to ASEAN countries increased by 3.46 percent, resulting in a trade surplus of 171.35 billion baht, with Malaysia as the country’s top importer, followed by Vietnam and Cambodia.
Thailand’s agricultural product exports outside the ASEAN region increased by 33.06 percent (653.66 billion baht) as a result of free trade agreements. The markets that saw the highest export growth rates last year were India, China, South Korea, New Zealand, and Japan. Palm oil, tapioca, rubber, fresh fruits, starch, and inulin products saw the greatest increase in export growth.
Thailand has high tariffs on agricultural imports with the bound tariff rate averaging 39 percent ad valorem. This presents a significant impediment for some western countires agricultural exports, particularly for consumer-oriented products like dairy products, meats, fresh fruit, snack foods, processed vegetables, and pet foods.
Thailand is an export oriented economy with exports accounting for around 65 percent of the GDP. The country mainly exports manufactured goods (86 percent of total shipments) with electronics (14 percent, vehicles (13 percent), machinery and equipment (7.5 percent) and foodstuffs (7.5 percent) being the most important. Agricultural goods, mainly rice and rubber, account for 8 percent of total shipments.
The secretary-general said the increased export despite the pandemic was partly due to consumer and business owner adaptations to the situation. He expressed optimism that exports will increase further this year and said the Agriculture Ministry will ensure that agricultural goods sold to other countries are of high quality