Export to Thailand (and what does Thailand import?)

What do we know about the Thai consumer?

Thailand’s official population count is 68 million. The distribution of income in Thailand is unfortunately among the most uneven in Southeast Asia, mainly in the north eastern part of the country.

Some have attributed this situation to the lack of literacy among the poorer sections of society regarding money management and accessibility. As a means to bridge income disparities, the country’s microfinance sector has seen some initiatives that are aiming to empower the lower income groups.

What are people sending into Thailand?

  • Machinery and parts
  • Crude Oil
  • Electrical machinery and parts
  • Chemicals
  • Iron and Steel
  • Automobile parts
  • Jewellery, silver and gold bars

Which are Thailand’s top import countries?

  • China (22%)
  • Japan (14%)
  • United States (7.7%)
  • Malaysia (5.7%)
  • UAE (3.4%)

Which is Thailand’s prime cargo airport?

  • Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakat Province

Which are Thailand’s busiest cargo ports?

  • Laem Chabang
  • Bangkok

What are the import processes and regulations in Thailand?

The import process in Thailand begins with a Goods declaration form and other supporting documents at the port from which your shipment is entering. Each shipment requires authorisation and inspection by Customs followed by payment of applicable taxes and duties. Some products require special permits from authorised Thai bodies and these are required to be obtained prior to the shipment’s arrival into the country. e.g. food and medication require permission from the Food and Drug Administration within the Department of Health.

If case you utilise the online import process known as the E-import system, all documentation can be submitted electronically, saving you any last minute troubles.

Thai tariff and taxes

Thailand like many other countries utilises the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding Systems for trade commodities. This predefined classification, tariff plans and exemptions for each shipment, making the process quite straightforward.

Here is the list of prohibited items for Thailand :

  • Obscene literature/objects/images
  • Pornographic material
  • Goods with the Thai national flag
  • Narcotics
  • Fake currency, bonds, coins
  • Fake Royal seals/Official seals
  • IPR infringing goods such as music tapes, CDs, VDOs, computer software etc
  • Counterfeit trademarked goods

The Thai retail and wholesale markets

Recent political unrest in Thailand has affected the country’s distribution sector and dampened consumer enthusiasm. The interim military controlled government is in the process of introducing mega retail projects which will see a recovery phase for Thailand’s retailers. Thailand’s wholesale products hold huge potential for tourists looking for a good bargain. The range of products offered in Thai wholesale market places are diverse and exciting, making it a popular shopping destination.

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