Thailand  

Quick Facts

Population 69 million (2017)
GDP at PPP (current international dollars) 1.2 trillion (2017)
GDP per capita at PPP (current international dollars) 17,871 (2017)

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With well-developed agro-industries and a highly competitive agriculture export program, Thailand has been a powerful promoter of subregional agricultural trade. Thailand has developed world renowned agriculture products, including Jasmine rice, and has established the capacity to use agriculture to decrease rural poverty and drive economic growth. The country is working to increase private sector participation in agriculture, and is cooperating with GMS partners in defending against cross-border disease, and building climate resilience.

Thailand is working with its GMS partners to mitigate global warming and lower carbon emissions throughout the subregion. This includes sharing information and working together on developing renewable energy, clean fuels, energy efficiency and conservation. Thailand has a policy of working with its GMS partners to develop local energy sources, such as biomass, solar, and wind energy that reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

With abundant water, forest, fish, and wildlife resources, Thailand is improving water security, decreasing forest cover loss, and managing solid and hazardous waste within its borders and throughout the subregion. Thailand has decentralized management of the environment to local communities, and has partnered with the private sector to enhance and protect the environment. Thailand is home to the GMS Environmental Operations Center, which coordinates environmental initiatives for the subregion.

Thailand works with its GMS partners to maintain a wide range of human resource development activities. These include skills development and the mutual recognition of vocation skills. The country is also combating human trafficking, and has worked to decrease the cross-border transmission of disease.

As an active partner in subregional telecommunications programs, Thailand is developing cross-border connections under the GMS Information Superhighway Network. Thailand is also working with its GMS partners to develop information and communication technology for rural applications.

Thailand is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, and is seen as a gateway for promoting GMS as a single destination for global travelers. The country’s top destinations include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and seaside resorts in Pattaya and Phuket. The government is working to encourage sustainable tourism that highlights cultural identity, and promotes the conservation of nature and the environment.

As an active member of the GMS Business Forum, Thailand is promoting private sector investment in the subregion, and is encouraging Thai companies to trade with neighboring countries. Thailand is working with its GMS partners to improve trade by easing the flow of goods and services across borders. It is coordinating with subregional partners on customs procedures; inspection and quarantine measures, and trade logistics.

Thailand’s well-developed transport system is an important part of the GMS economic corridors, which focus investment and development on vital highway systems. Thailand has been a driver of economic growth on the North-South Economic Corridor (Kunming-Bangkok Road); the East-West Economic Corridor; and the Southern Economic Corridor. Thailand has worked with its GMS partners to upgrade portions of these important economic corridors and encourage cross border investments aligned with subregional highways.

ADB and Thailand: Fact Sheet

Representative image only. Photo by Xinhua/Chen Yehua via Global Times

First Phase of the China-Thailand High Speed Rail Underway

A planned 873-kilometer China-Thailand High Speed Rail will connect Bangkok, Thailand, to Kunming city in Yunnan Province, People's Republic of China (PRC). On 29 March, transportation authorities from the Government of Thailand and construction firms from the PRC signed the construction agreement for the first phase of the railway.  

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Lao PDR, Thailand Note Growth in Relations

Thailand Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-O-Cha congratulated newly-elected Lao PDR Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh in a phone conversation on 8 April. The Lao PDR Prime Minister lauded the government of Thailand's efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and thanked them for the support extended to Lao PDR. He also expressed gratitude for Thailand's support in Lao PDR's human resource development.

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Prime Ministers of Lao PDR and Thailand Discuss Cooperation on Health and Energy

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith and Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha discussed bolstering friendly neighborhood ties, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, and energy trade in a phone call. The two leaders underscored how enhancing bilateral relations would benefit the two countries, and contribute to peace, stability, and cooperation for development in the region. They also agreed that closer cooperation will help them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and boost trade and investment to help restore their economies. The call also dis

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The Thai-Lao Friendship bridge built with Australian funding, crossing the Mekong River. Photo by Australia DFAT (CC BY 2.0) .

Construction of the Fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Begins

The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is being constructed, following the signing of the construction agreement in December 2020. It will connect Bolikhamxay province in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Bueng Kan in Thailand. The project is set to transform Bolikhamxay into a regional trade hub and transit route for Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It could potentially increase the subregion's tourism and attract more trade and investment for Lao PDR. 

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Cambodia Approves Two 500 kV Transmission Line Projects

The Government of Cambodia’s Council of Ministers approved two 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission line investment projects in (i) Phnom Penh to the Cambodia-Lao PDR border, and (ii) Battambang to the Cambodia-Thailand border, to prepare to import electricity from its neighbors. The Government of Cambodia is working on increasing the country’s electricity capacity to improve production and competitiveness.

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Border check point on the Lao PDR side of the Mekong River. Laos and Thailand are now linked by “Friendship Bridge II” completed in 2007. Photo by ADB.

Sixth Thai-Lao PDR Friendship Bridge to Open in 2025

Thailand’s Ministry of Transport is scheduled to complete the 6th Thai-Lao friendship bridge by 2025, according to Mr. Saksayam Chidchob, Thailand Minister of Transport.  This new bridge promises to further enhance border trade and promote tourism between Thailand and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). 

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The 9th ACMECS Summit Declaration emphasized post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and preparation for future crises. Photo by OCM.

9th ACMECS Summit Declaration Focuses on Post-pandemic Recovery

Leaders of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam adopted the Phnom Penh declaration at the 9th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Summit held on 9 December. The declaration emphasizes post-pandemic socio-economic recovery and preparation for future crises and challenges through public health cooperation and enhanced supply chains. ACMECS leaders stressed the importance of vaccine multilateralism to ensure equitable and safe access to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines. 

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COVID-19 equipment donated by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to to Viet Nam. Photo: IAEA Imagebank (CC BY 2.0)

How Universal Health Coverage in Thailand and Viet Nam Helped Mitigate the Impact of COVID-19

Strong commitments toward achieving universal health coverage (UHC) made by some developing member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), including Greater Mekong Subregion members Thailand and Viet Nam, prepared these countries to better manage the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.  

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