Economy, Foreign Trade
world prices, major imports, world markets, capital flows, seafood products
Thailandís economy is closely linked to world markets through trade as well as through investment and other capital flows. The importance of trade to the economy, measured as the value of trade as a percentage of GDP, increased from 54 percent in 1980 to 83 percent in 1996. The composition of trade has shifted dramatically towards manufactures; between 1980 and 1999 manufactures as a percentage of total exports increased from 25 percent to 74 percent. In 2000 Thailandís exports, comprising more than 200 different commodities, earned $69.1 billion, while import spending totaled $61.9 billion.
Thailandís economy is highly vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices of its major imports, such as oil. On the other hand, it has successfully taken advantage of growth in world demand for many of its exports, including seafood products, clothing and textiles, and electronics. Japan is Thailandís largest trading partner, followed by the United States and Singapore. Thailandís trade with other developing Southeast Asian and East Asian economies has increased in importance.
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