Thailand: Open to Foreign Investment
Despite political challenges, Thailand continues to maintain an open, market-oriented economy and encourages foreign direct investment as a means of promoting economic development, employment, and technology transfer. In recent decades, Thailand has been a major destination for foreign direct investment and hundreds of U.S. companies have invested in Thailand successfully. Thailand continues to welcome investment from all countries and seeks to avoid dependence on any one country as a source of investment.
Thailand’s GDP expanded 3.5 percent from a year earlier in the second quarter of 2016, compared to a 3.2 percent expansion in the March quarter and beating market expectations of a 3.2 percent expansion. It was the strongest growth since the first quarter of 2013, mainly driven by private consumption while government spending, investment and exports eased.
Growth is seen picking up in 2016 and 2017 if planned infrastructure investment proceeds as scheduled. Lower farm incomes from drought and weak agricultural prices are weighing on private consumption. Consumer prices, having declined in 2015, are forecast to nudge up. Falling imports are leaving sizable trade and current account surpluses, while exports remain weak.