Thailand and the Netherlands share important geographical and economic similarities, which make both countries natural economic partners for one another. The Netherlands is a gateway to Europe with her strategic location and convenient logistics network. At the same time, Thailand strives to become one of Asia’s hubs for trade, investment, services and connectivity based on its strategic location at the heart of Southeast Asia, Indo-Pacific and Asia-Pacific regions coupled with investments in hard and soft infrastructure.
The Netherlands is the biggest EU source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Thailand, invested in 62 projects worth THB 17.5 billion (or approx. 473 million Euro) after only Japan and China (based on the Board of Investment of Thailand’s statistics between January- September 2020).
The Netherlands is also no.1 EU destination for Thai Direct Investment (TDI) abroad, with accumulated investment of THB 7 billion (or approx. 188 million Euro) in the first 9 months of 2020 (based on the Bank of Thailand’s statistics).
Both Kingdoms attach importance to innovation and cutting-edge technologies, through Thailand 4.0 Policy, and Dutch Topsector Policy. Thailand 5G was launched in 2020, which benefits emerging technology such as Advanced Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Thailand has a long track record of business-friendly policies, a willingness to meet investors’ needs, a diligent and adaptable workforce, commitment to free trade, and a welcoming attitude to foreigners. Thailand is also steadily rising in global rankings for ease of doing business, competitiveness, e-government, innovation, logistics performance, and global connectedness. Thailand retains best country rank in the world for starting a business in 2020 by U.S. News &World Report. The Global COVID-19 Index ranks Thailand first among those with the highest COVID-19 recovery. As a result, foreign companies in Thailand were able to continue their business with uninterrupted supply chain.
Trade between Thailand and the Netherlands is vibrant during the past years. According to the past statistics, the volume of annual trade between the two countries worth approx. USD $6 billion. However, due to COVID-19, the bilateral merchandise trade between Thailand and the Netherlands in the first eleven months of 2020 dropped around 10%.
Thailand’s main export items to the Netherlands include computers & parts, electrical equipment, rubber products, lens, motorcycles & parts, machinery & parts, air conditioning, prepared poultry, meat and animal parts.
Thailand’s top import items from the Netherlands are chemicals, machinery & parts, electronics integrated circuits, and medicinal & pharmaceutical products including scientific & testing instruments, as well as animals and dairy products.
In October – December 2020, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands hosted a Dutch virtual trade mission to Southeast Asia, which is a seminar and meeting forum in teleconference platform to promote economic activities between the Netherlands and ASEAN-5 (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and
Viet Nam) countries. Activities include the dissemination of the Netherlands’ economic policy and the organizing of business matching opportunities focusing on (1) agri-food production (2) water management and (3) waste management and circular economy. Participants include business sectors from the Netherlands and ASEAN-5 countries.
On that occasion, H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered an address in the session of ‘Doing business in Thailand’ and underlined that the Thai government stands ready to support Dutch investment expansion especially in the fields of food, agriculture, biotechnology and digital economy in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Sustainable development are the core values of both countries’ development and foreign policies. Thailand sees the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate the mainstreaming of BCG into our economies at every level, and emerge with stronger economic foundations in post COVID-19 era. Thailand and the Netherlands have rightly strengthened cooperation to promote water management, food and agriculture technology, circular economy, and healthcare. Moreover, other aspects of sustainable development such as female economic empowerment, are mutual strengths of the two countries, which has led to further collaboration on such issues.