Exporting guide to

Thailand

Overview

As the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, Thailand has a strong consumer base with large, urban, middle-class population. With its well-established trade relationship with the UK, cultural goodwill and central location, Thailand is a promising export market for British businesses.

Trade statistics

£2.7 billion total UK exports to Thailand for the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: October 2023)

46th largest UK export market

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: October 2023)

0.3% of total UK exports for the four quarters to the end of Q2 2023

(Source: ONS UK total trade: all countries, seasonally adjusted
Last updated: October 2023)

An established market for goods imported from the UK

There are over 5,000 British VAT-registered businesses exporting to Thailand, with more SMEs entering the market. As a result, British products and services are recognised across the country and are widely associated with a high standard of quality.

Advantageous geographical location

Thailand notably serves as a gateway to ASEAN and exporting to Thailand also opens up access to countless business opportunities across the region. Its geographical position makes Thailand a great hub for UK companies aiming to export to Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, and southern China as well.

An established trade relationship between the UK and Thailand

UK and Thailand set-up a Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in 2021.This bilateral trade committee addresses trade barriers, while actively promoting business and trade activity between the UK and Thailand – with support for agriculture, food and drink, and financial services sectors.

Top five UK goods exported to Thailand , in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2023

Goods Value (£ million )
Mechanical power generators (intermediate) 324.8
Miscellaneous electrical goods (capital) 170.5
Cars 148.5
Metal ores & scrap 103.7
Unspecified goods 69.8

Source: ONS Trade in goods: country-by-commodity exports
Last updated: November 2023
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Thailand.

Top five UK services exported to Thailand , in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023

Service Value (£ million )
Other Business Services 229.0
Travel 196.0
Financial 102.0
Insurance and Pension 67.0
Transportation 59.0

Source: ONS UK trade in services: service type by partner country, non-seasonally adjusted
Last updated: July 2023
Download the latest trade and investment factsheet for Thailand.

Thailand: at a glance

Economic growth

1.6%

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is 7.6% (IMF, 2021, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$7,227

Actual figure (IMF, 2021)
The UK is $46,422 (IMF, 2021, projected figure)

Currency

Thai baht

Business languages

Thai

You may need a translator

Time zone

GMT + 7

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High potential industries in the country for UK businesses

As a leading tourist destination with an affluent urban population and a strong manufacturing base, Thailand presents a massive demand for products and commodities which significantly overlap with several high-growth UK export areas.

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Thailand

Preparing to export

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Thailand.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Import tariffs

There is currently no preferential trade agreement between Thailand and the UK and generally import duties are applied according to the WTO’s Most Favoured Nation (MFN) basis.

There are some import duties privileges for certain products and import purposes. Details can be found on Thai Customs Department website.

Import requirements and documentation

In general, before importing and exporting products in Thailand, it is necessary to submit a Customs Entry Form and provide related documents such as invoice, shipping documents, air waybill and letter of credit in order to complete general customs clearance requirements.

A number of goods and materials also requires import/export licence and authorisation from relevant agencies.

Payment terms

Foreign currency transactions between residents and non-residents of Thailand are regulated by exchange control regulations. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is generally responsible for regulating foreign exchange.

Operating in Thailand

Foreign Business Act

The Foreign Business Act (FBA) identifies three lists of activities in which foreign participation may be prohibited or restricted.

A company is designated as ‘foreign’ if it is following the laws of another country, or following Thai law and 50% or more of its shares are held by foreign individuals or business entities.

VAT

The standard rate of Value Added Tax (VAT) in Thailand is 10%.

VAT is applied in all stages upon the consumption of goods and services.

Visa and work permit regulations

British nationals seeking to do business in Thailand must apply for a Non-Immigrant B-Visa.

This is generally granted for an initial stay of 90 days, but it may be extended to up to one year and is renewable each year.

A foreigner with this visa can apply for a work permit.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial and rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere.

You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

View guidance on IP in Thailand on GOV.UK.

Overseas business risk

In Thailand, there are various potential risks for UK Company doing business in this country including political and economic risk, human rights, bribery and corruption, terrorism, Intellectual Property and crime.

For more information check overseas business risk in Thailand.

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