Thai-ASEAN trade blossoms after imposition of AFTA

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BANGKOK, 24 May 2011  – Thailand’s exports and imports within the ASEAN region have been expanding steadily since the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) in 2010. 

According to Mr Aat Pisanwanich, Director of the Center for International Trade Studies (CITS) of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai exports to ASEAN grew 39.5 percent within a period of one year following the adoption of AFTA on 1 January 2010 with the total value of 36.23 billion USD.

With the zero percent import tariff under AFTA, the overall market share of Thai products within ASEAN increased to 35.8 percent with significant expansion found in many categories of agricultural and industrial goods, which accounted for up to 80 percent of Thai exports to the region. Those products include rice, cassava, meat, sugar, tobacco, clothing and textile, petroleum and coal, rubber products, steel, automobile, machinery and electronics.

After the implementation of AFTA, Thailand’s rice market share in ASEAN rose from 5.24 percent to 22.37 percent but still ranks second after Vietnam, whose market share dropped slightly to 71.38 percent. However, Thailand remains the number one exporter of fruits and vegetables, sugar and para rubber with market shares of 64 percent, 77.05 percent and 64.02 percent, respectively.