Thailand: Exports to Korea set to rise 2% this year

Thailand expects exports to South Korea to increase by 2% this year to US$6.52 billion, partially helped by a deeper trade partnership through a so-called mini-free trade agreement (mini-FTA) with the South Korean provinces of Gyeonggi and Pusan.

According to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, targeted export products include sugar, oil, rubber products, electronic circuits, aluminium products, and food and beverage products.

In 2022, the value of exports to South Korea totalled $6.39 billion, making the country Thailand’s 12th largest trading partner.

Thailand signed its first memorandum of understanding (MoU) to form a mini-FTA with Busan, the second-largest city in South Korea after Seoul, in July last year. In September 2022, the country signed a similar pact with Gyeonggi province.

The city of Gyeonggi has the highest GDP growth in South Korea and has over 13.9 million inhabitants. The city has also been dubbed South Korea’s Silicon Valley as it is home to advanced IT development and technology promotion.

“Thailand and Korea have had a relationship for 65 years, encompassing the economy, society and culture. Korean soft power is particularly popular worldwide, including in Thailand,” said Mr Juirn who presided over the opening ceremony of the G-Fair Korean 2nd Asean+ 2023 Korea Sourcing Fair in Bangkok. “The trade value between the two countries in 2022 reached copy6.5 billion or over 570 billion baht, representing a 4.5% increase. It is expected that this year will also show a positive growth trend.”

The event was organised by South Korea’s Gyeonggi province in collaboration with Gyeonggido Business & Science Accelerator (GBSA) and Gyeonggi Business Center (GBC) in Bangkok.

Thailand has mini-FTAs with seven cities, namely: Hainan, China; Kofu, Japan; Telangana, India; Gansu, China; Busan and Gyeonggi, South Korea; and Shenzhen, China.

Thailand is scheduled to sign a similar pact with Yunnan province in southwest China in August, followed by pacts with five states in India. Other potential FTAs could be established with cities in England and Pakistan.