This chapter includes the following articles.
Trade and investment have witnessed robust growth in Thailand over the past 30 years, as rapid industrial development led manufacturing to overtake agriculture as a primary economic engine. This has had a dramatic impact on exports, with the country rising to become a major regional exporter of electronics, automotive parts and food products. Trade relations have also expanded in recent years on the back of improved bilateral relations with China and the US: Thailand is poised to enter into a major global free trade agreement with each – respectively, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Despite uncertainty regarding the country’s political future, as well as rising concern about falling regional competitiveness, particularly in light of the ongoing process of AEC integration, cautious optimism prevails in Thailand. This chapter contains viewpoints from Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs; and Dmitry Medveded, Prime Minister of Russia; and interviews with Cecelia Malmstrom, European Commissioner for Trade; and Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister of Laos and 2016 ASEAN Chair.