Industrial Clusters, Upgrading and Innovation in East Asia

Industrial Clusters, Upgrading and Innovation in East Asia

Edited by Akifumi Kuchiki and Masatsugu Tsuji

This lucid and informative book analyzes the problem of clusters in transition through studies of agglomerations at different stages of development in various East Asian countries.

Chapter 5: Thai Regional Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and their Effect on the Automotive Industry in Thailand

Somrote Komolavanij, Chawalit Jeenanunta, Pornpimol Chongphaisal and Veeris Ammarapala

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, asian urban and regional studies, development studies, development economics, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics, economics of innovation, industrial economics, regional economics, innovation and technology, economics of innovation, urban and regional studies, clusters, regional economics


5. Thai regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and their effect on the automotive industry in Thailand Somrote Komolavanij, Chawalit Jeenanunta, Pornpimol Chongphaisal and Veeris Ammarapala 5.1 OVERVIEW OF THE ECONOMY Thailand was formerly a traditional agricultural economy, which has gradually become an industrialized economy. Thailand has been one of the fastest growing countries in the world, the average annual growth rate of real GDP being 6.5 percent per year from 1951 to 2001, as shown in Table 5.1. Per capita GDP has increased substantially during the past 50 years. Thailand is making great efforts to aggressively assert itself as a strong and prosperous country. Although Thailand is not rich in oil and ores, its abundance in other natural resources, such as timber and agricultural products, has helped the country to grow. Thailand was formerly a traditional economy where the major export was agricultural products, especially rice. In 1960, agriculture accounted for 32 percent of the total GDP of the country while the share of manufacturing was only 14 percent. The proportion of agricultural products in the total GDP has continuously decreased over the past 40 years. In 2006, agricultural products provided only 10.7 percent of the total product, while manufactures accounted for 44.6 percent, as shown in Figure 5.1. Moreover, the structure of exported goods has changed substantially. In the early 1980s, 45 percent of total exported goods were agricultural products. However, the share of agricultural products in exports has now been replaced by industrial products. In 2009, the structure...

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