|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’s Ministry of Commerce’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) organized the CLMVT+ Forum 2021 on 24-26 August. The forum highlighted the TPSO study emphasizing the importance of achieving an even economic recovery in the GMS.
Trade promotion agencies of Cambodia, India, Thailand, and Viet Nam held an event promoting cross-border trade connectivity between India and countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) on 19 August. Representatives from each country gave briefings on their business environment and exchanged experiences in facilitating trade and investment cooperation. Noting challenges caused by COVID-19, they urged governments to take measures to help their small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) move beyond national borders and expand markets.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Thailand held the first Policy Platform meeting as part of the Thailand: COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) program on 9 August. The meeting was led by Mr. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Finance Minister of the Government of Thailand and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Governor, and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice-President (Operations 2), ADB.
The 14th Mekong-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on 6 August 2021 chaired by Mr. Motegi Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, and attended by Foreign Ministers of the Mekong subregion. The meeting underscored that Japan will (i) continuously support mutual development through the Mekong-Japan cooperation framework, and (ii) help Mekong countries overcome the fight against COVID-19.
The 11th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on 21 July 2021, co-chaired by Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India Minister of External Affairs. The meeting noted the progress in the MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022 implementation.
The Thai Durian Association called on the Government of Thailand to ease the bottleneck hindering durian exports to the People's Republic of China (PRC) by linking Thailand's rail network with the Lao PDR-PRC railway. The railway offers a potential route for durian shipments to the PRC, where there is huge demand for the fruit. Mr. Phanusak Saiphanich, chairman of the association, notes there is currently no connection between the Thai rail network and the Lao PDR-PRC railway.
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.
Viet Nam Electricity and Impact Energy Asia Development (IEAD) Limited signed the 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Monsoon Wind Project on 12 July 2021. The 600-megawatt wind energy project will be the largest wind farm in Southeast Asia and the first cross-border wind energy project. It will be located in Sekong and Attapeu provinces in Southern Lao PDR, and export green energy to Central Vietnam through a 500 kilovolt transmission line. Construction is expected to begin in 2022, with commercial operation aimed for 2025.
Capacity development in the area of human resource management is greatly needed in the Lao PDR’s health sector. At the Ministry of Health, strengthening the staff’s capacity for reliable planning of prevention, treatment, and managing statistical systems has contributed positively to the well-being of employees—as well as health system beneficiaries, who received better services.