Thailand has a long history of being a generous and liberal trading partner. In 1855, its Bowring Treaty guaranteed British trading privileges. One year later, the Harris Treaty extended trading guarantees to Americans.

Cooperation with Southeast Asian neighbors

Although the UK and US treaties corroborate Thailand’s well-earned reputation as an open, cooperative trading partner, Thailand does most of its business with fellow Asian countries. Almost two-thirds of Thailand’s 2019 exports were shipped to fellow Asian countries. The remainder went mostly to North America (14.6%) and Europe (12.4%).

With such a large proportion of its exports slated for neighboring countries, Thailand benefits from cooperating with its neighbors, which it does enthusiastically. The country’s long history of leading inter-regional cooperation is best exemplified by its role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In 1967, Thailand was one of the founding members of ASEAN. ASEAN’s goals include accelerating regional economic growth, social progress, and cultural development. It also promotes peace, collaboration, and mutual assistance on affairs of common local interest.

The present-day ASEAN includes the ten countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Of course, other Asian countries are essential to the region’s economy, so ASEA reached out to its neighbors.

As ASEAN Plus Six, ASEAN cooperates with China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

With its worldwide network of alliances and dialogue partners, many observers consider ASEAN the premier organization for Asia-Pacific cooperation.

 

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