|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.
Thailand will accelerate its railway connectivity, in line with the opening of the railway link between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in December 2021.
The second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting held on 2 August 2021 unveiled four flagship projects under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, and noted the 8.5 million vaccine doses and over $58 million in U.S. COVID-19 assistance to the Mekong subregion countries.
Thailand's Department of Highways noted that construction of the new Highway 3646 linking Thailand and Cambodia is already 70% complete. Full completion is expected by next February. Highway 3646 will connect Ban Nong Ian in Sa Kaeo, Aranyaprathet, Thailand, to Banteay Meanchey, Cambodia, via the Thailand-Cambodia Friendship Bridge.
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.
This publication provides an analysis of key challenges and opportunities for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) to realize its development goals by 2030 and beyond.
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.
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).
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have identified 19 priority infrastructure projects to enhance regional connectivity and mobilize investments. Fifteen of the projects are in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Thailand is embarking on several projects in its northeastern region to improve travel to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).