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Official Name: Kingdom of Thailand
Land Area: 514,000 sq km
Population: 69m (Dec 2011)
Capital City: Bangkok
Religions: Buddhism – 94.6% of population, but also Islam, and Christianity
Currency: Thai Baht
Exchange Rate: NZ$1 = 24.9 Baht (April 2013)
Political system: Constitutional Monarchy
National government: Under the Constitution the Prime Minister is an elected member of the House of Representatives.
Last election: General Elections 3 July 2011
Head of State: His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Prime Minister:Ms Yingluck Shinawatra
Finance: Mr Kittirat Na-Ranong
Defence: ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat
Foreign: Mr Surapong Tovichakchaikul
Education: Mr Phongthep Thepkanchanatop of page
GDP:US$645.7 billion (2012 estimate)
GDP percapita (ppp):US$10,000 (2012)
Real GDP growth:5.5 per cent (2012 estimate)
Exports (fob):US$226.2 billion (2012)
Imports (fob):US$213.7 billion (2012)
Main exports:Electronics, computer parts, automobiles and parts, electrical appliances, machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, fishery products, rice, rubber
Current account balance: US$2.7billion (2012)
Inflation:3% (Headline - 2012)
NZ Exports (FOB):NZ$626 million (year ended December2012)
Main Exports:dairy products (milk power, butter, buttermilk), cereal, fruit and nuts, wood.
NZ Imports (CIF):NZ$1.3 billion (year ended December2012)
Main Imports:vehicles and parts, electrical machinery, plastics, rubber, fish.
Thailand has a diversified economy with a significant volume of international trade. This trade is heavily dependent on the United States and Japanese markets, with these accounting for around one-third of total exports. Strong sectors in the economy are motor vehicles, electronic goods, computer and electronic parts, textiles, fisheries, agriculture and food processing.
Thailand continues to maintain restrictions on foreign entry in key service areas including air transport services, ports and telecommunications. Relaxing these would enhance competition and investment, reduce costs and raise incomes in the services sector. The major challenges to Thailand’s immediate economic outlook are now external, with uncertainty in global markets and economies raising fears of a softening in export performance on which it is heavily reliant.
Latest economic information may be obtained from www.bot.or.th [external link]
Thailand seeks to position itself as the gateway to mainland Southeast Asia and, as such, its foreign policy is focused on the immediate region. Beyond this, Thailand has placed increasing emphasis on its regional dialogue with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Traditionally Thailand’s major security preoccupation has been with its borders and the internal situations in neighbouring countries, Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Malaysia. Recently, there have been tensions on the Thai/Cambodia border over the Preah Vihear Temple and the matter is now before the International Court of Justice. Thailand has contributed to a number of international peace keeping and reconstruction efforts including in East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.
Further detail on Thai foreign policy may be found on the website of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
New Zealand has a close relationship with Thailand and is ambitious about advancing new areas of collaboration.
Our relations with Thailand date from the 1950s. The relatively narrow security/alliance dealings of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organisation (SEATO) years have been replaced by a broad-based relationship.
New Zealand's bilateral aid programme in Thailand ceased in July 2004, when the then Prime Ministers of both countries announced that a new relationship based on regional partnership would be developed. There is interaction between New Zealand’s international aid programme and the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) in areas of mutual interest and cooperation, such as the Mekong Institute.
Under the New Zealand’s ASEAN Flagships, launched in July 2010, Thailand participates in the New Zealand ASEAN Scholars awards, Agricultural Diplomacy programme, Disaster Risk Management programme and Young Business Leaders’ Initiative.
New Zealand also supports the Mekong Institute at Khon Kaen University in north-east Thailand. The Mekong Institute works with other regional training institutions and mechanisms to provide human resource development to the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the Yunnan province of China. Thailand is also supported through New Zealand assistance to the United Nations Inter-Agency Project to counter human trafficking in the GMS.top of page
Thailand continues to have a strong economic base, and our bilateral trade is underpinned by the Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) agreement signed in April 2005. Thailand is also part of the ASEAN-Australia/New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which entered into force on 1 January 2010.
Further detail on the AANZFTA agreement can be found on here.
The New Zealand Thai Chamber of Commerce was inaugurated in 1996 in Bangkok, and is willing to assist enhancing New Zealand’s commercial interests.top of page
Thai International Airways (TG) has operates direct flights between Bangkok and Auckland five times per week. Air New Zealand and Thai Airways are members of the Star Alliance.
Education is an important and rapidly growing element in the relationship. Approximately 3,000 Thai students study in New Zealand annually. A number of New Zealand universities have developed strong links with counterpart institutions in Thailand, including with Thailand’s most prestigious universities. Such links promote New Zealand education as a quality product and represent an opportunity for building research and constituent links with Thai counterparts. New Zealand has had a long association with Khon Kaen University in the north east of Thailand.
Around 17,000 Thai tourists visited New Zealand in 2012 and about 90,000 New Zealanders visit Thailand each year. Thailand is now New Zealand’s largest Southeast Asian and fourth most important overall source of fee-paying students.top of page
Thailand is not a significant immigration source for New Zealand and numbers have been small (less than 1% of immigrants). A bilateral visa waiver agreement for tourist travel was concluded in 1987, but was suspended in December 2000. All Thai nationals travelling to New Zealand require visas; with the New Zealand Immigration Service maintaining an office in Bangkok to process visitor, student, work and residence visa applications. New Zealand visitors to Thailand are granted a 30-day permit on arrival.
Defence relations are underpinned by a Mutual Assistance Programme and annual discussions. There is also engagement in ASEAN-related forums including the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+).
The New Zealand Police and the Royal Thai Police have worked together closely in law enforcement for more than 30 years.
New Zealand and Thailand are engaged in environment cooperation, including through the Arrangement on Environment that was concluded in 2005 in the context of the New Zealand-Thailand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement. The Ministry for the Environment in New Zealand (MfE) leads the programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Thailand (MONRE).
Thailand is also member of Global Research Alliance.
There were approximately 17,000 visitors from Thailand in the year to May 2012. Around 90,000 New Zealanders (which includes New Zealand citizens arriving from all destinations) visit Thailand every year.top of page
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited New Zealand in May 2013. Minister of Trade, Hon Tim Groser, made a bilateral visit to Thailand in September 2012. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Murray McCully, made a bilateral visit to Thailand in July 2012. Prime Minister John Key visited Thailand for ASEAN related meetings in 2009. High-level engagement between New Zealand and Thai Ministers also occurs in the margins of international meetings..
The Safe Travel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Thailand [external link].
Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers: Ph: +64 4 439 8000; Fax: +64 4 439 8532.
New Zealand is represented in Thailand by:
Thailand is represented in New Zealand by: