The Belt and Road News Network>>Databases>>International Cooperation>>BRI Countries


      09:40, April 19, 2019

Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Thai Government and Politics

After the country went througha peaceful transformation in 1932, sovereign power came to belong to the Thaipeople, with the King as the Head of State who is above partisan politics anddischarges his role in accordance with the country’s Constitution. Despiteperiods of political turbulence, Thailand’s political history reflects thecountry’s unwavering commitment towards becoming a full-fledged, multi-partydemocracy, with accountability, transparency, good governance, as well asrespect for human rights and the rule of law being among the main guidingprinciples.

With the resiliency andfundamental strengths of the Thai society, the country has been able tocontinue its stride along the path of development, guided by the traditionalThai traits of tolerance, common sense and preference for peaceful solutions toproblems. Over the past decades, there has been a remarkable continuity inpolicy direction, providing a predictable framework for investors andbusinessmen.

Successive Thai governmentshave always been committed to certain fundamental policy principles: friendlyrelations with all its neighbours and a responsible and constructive foreignpolicy, an open-market economy, hospitality toward foreign investors andtourists, sound macro-economic policies with fiscal and monetary prudence andthe improvement of the country’s infrastructure to increase competitiveness andachieve sustainable development. These policies are underpinned, among others,by the vibrant private sector and the strength and continuity of the civilservice of the nation, which oversees the implementation of policies andexecution of laws throughout the country.

Prime Minister and Cabinet

Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Headof National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and Commander-in-Chief of theRoyal Thai Army, has been officially appointed as the 29th Prime Minister ofThailand after he was unanimously selected by members of the NationalLegislative Assembly (NLA) on 21 August 2014.

In his speech after theceremony to receive the royal command on 25 August 2014, General Prayut pledgedto perform his duties with integrity in the interests of the country andpeople. He emphasised the need to strengthen the national administration systemin all dimensions; expeditiously resolve immediate and persisting problems;amend archaic laws; and move forward the reform and reconciliation process.


Thailand is Southeast Asia’ssecond largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around USD 385billion in 2013. With a free-market economy, the Kingdom has a strong domesticmarket and a growing middle class, with the private sector being the mainengine of growth. The Thai economy is well integrated into the globalmarketplace, with exports accounting for over 70 per cent of the Kingdom’s GDP.Thailand also has a strong industrial sector (38.1 per cent of GDP) and arobust and growing services sector (25.7 per cent of GDP) centred on thetourism and financial services industries. Though traditionally an agrarian societyand historically one of the world’s few net food exporters, the agriculturalsector today accounts for approximately 8.3 per cent of the country’sGDP. Thailand continues to invest in new projects to maintain its growth.For a list of recently approved projects by the Board of Invesments.

Given the importance ofexports to Thailand, it has been a leader in the region in terms of tradeliberalisation and facilitation with the rest of the world, starting with itsAsian neighbours. Thailand is a key player in the Association of SoutheastAsian Nations (ASEAN), enjoying a strategic location that provides easy accessto a larger market of nearly 600 million people, which is expected to gain evenmore strength when the ASEAN vision of One Community materialises in 2015,making it a community of connectivity, a single market and production base.Furthermore, Thailand’s convenient access to China and India, as well as toother East Asian countries such as Japan and the Republic of Korea, takes thishuge consumer market to even bigger proportions.

In addition, Thailand’sfriendly relations and expanding networks of free trade agreements with othercountries have further opened up trade access to markets both within andoutside the region. These, coupled with the Kingdom’s strategic positioning,have made the country a regional centre for international travel and trade, aswell as a hub for various industries, of which the most notable are theautomotive industry and agro-industries. With a favourable investment climate,an entrepreneurial spirit and an open society, Thailand has been chosen by manybusinesses, media firms, as well as international organisations andnon-governmental organisations as the base for their regional offices. Thailandhas long been known for its open, free, and business-friendly market economyand sound macro-economic policies with fiscal and monetary prudence. To enhancethe country’s competitiveness, the country has been streamlining its laws andregulations, improving its infrastructure, enlarging the pool of qualityworkforce and promoting research and development to promote a creative economy.Thailand therefore remains a favourite investment destination of choice forforeign investors looking for business opportunities both within Thailand andthroughout Asia, attracting on average around USD 10 billion in net foreigndirect investment every year.

Culture and Society

A nation with a long and richhistory, Thailand has preserved its unique identity and traditions over thecenturies, while also welcoming diverse cultures reaching its shores as theKingdom increased its contacts with the outside world. Thai people are well-knownfor their friendliness, generosity and tolerance, regardless of gender, raceand faith.

Thailand has a population ofaround 65 million, consisting of around 80 per cent Thais, 10 per cent Chineseand 3 per cent Malays. The rest are minorities, including the Mons, Khmers andvarious hill tribes people. There are five major religions currently observed.Around 89 per cent of Thais are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition.Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at around 10 percent. Christians, mainly Catholics, represent 0.7 per cent of the population.There is also a small but influential community of Sikhs in Thailand and someHindus living in the country’s cities who are mostly engaged in retailcommerce, in addition to a small Jewish community dating back to the 17thcentury. All these groups live in harmony and enjoy freedom to practice theirrespective beliefs, as guaranteed by the country’s constitution. His Majestythe King, while a Buddhist, is a patron of all religions.

Underpinned by eight centuriesof chronicled history that is rich in tradition going back beyond that, Thaicultural heritage is a blend of customs, from the Siamese royal court andhistorical tributary principalities to distinctive regional folklore. Thai culturehas also been influenced by religious tenets, largely inspired by TheravadaBuddhism, but also incorporating a great deal of Indian, Chinese, Khmer andother traditions from the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond. Culture, arts andreligions have been upheld on the basis of freedom and integration. This hasallowed the country to remain open to the outside world, ready to adoptinnovations that benefit society. Culture is recognised as an important elementof the Kingdom’s social fabric and its dynamic economy, enabling all citizensto uphold their virtues, to live together peacefully and to continually adaptto change.