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 Home > About Thailand > Economy

The Character and Structure of The Economy

Traditionally an agrarian nation, today Thailand boasts a complex, multi-faceted economy embracing industries employing the latest and most sophisticated technology.

Several important factors have contributed to the country's enviable growth. Its principal comparative advantage has been the abundance and diversity of its natural resources. Blessed with large expanses of fertile land and ideal growing conditions, Thailand not only enjoys agricultural self-sufficiency but is also the only net food exporter in Asia and one of the largest food exporters in the world.

Growth and diversification into new industrial areas have to a large extent been initiated by the dynamic private sector. Innovative private enterprise broadened the nation's agrarian base by exploiting the value-added potential of basic staple crops, and at the same time expanded into new product areas in response to world demand. With the government providing infrastructural support and exerting relatively limited control over private industry, a free enterprise system has emerged which has allowed development to take place at a rapid rate consistent with the needs and resources available.

With its agrarian base as the bedrock, the economy has experienced steady growth. The introduction of improved technology and marketing expertise has made Thailand a world leader in the sales of staple commodities. It has also transformed the country into a fast-rising manufacturer of sophisticated products built to international standards which find ready acceptance in world markets.

The arduous rice-field work is year-long. In April or May, farmers start planting seedlings in their well-ploughed fields. By late November or early December, cooperative work groups use sickles to harvest the crops. Cut rice is threshed, and the paddy is then ready to be winnowed and taken to market.

Thailand's primary money earners in the late 1970s were the crops grown on its rich land. Today agricultural products are produced in such quantities that in many commodities the country ranks as the world's number one supplier. Thus besides being the world's foremost exporter of tapioca and rice, it is a leader in the production of frozen shrimp, canned pineapple, natural rubber and sugar. Moreover, Thailand's industrial sector produces a wide number of goods ranging from textiles including the famous Thai silk and ready-made garments to integrated circuits, plastics, jewellery, footwear, knocked-down furniture and fibre-glass yachts. In recent years in fact, manufacturing has surpassed agricultural products in Thailand's GNP, while tourism has replaced agricultural products as Thailand's largest source of foreign exchange. The country's rich reserves of minerals are eagerly sought by the world's industries. In recent years, local factories have been established to manufacture industrial goods from the ores and thereby enhance their value.

If you want to read some interesting topics, select the following information :
Bounty of the Land and Sea | Sector Performance | The Agriculture and Mining Sectors | Major Crops | Livestock | Forestry | Fisheries | Mining | The Manufacturing Sector | Tourism | The Organized Financial Market | The Bank of Thailand | Other Sources of Finance | The Capital Market | The Role of the Public Sector | Infrastructural Support | Public Utilities | Government Incentives and Financial Assistance | Foreign Trade and Balance of Payments | Conclusion

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