Thailand

Thailand – ราชอาณาจักรไทย

Thailand has developed enormously in the last four decades and is now an upper middle-income country with Southeast Asia’s second largest economy. Although often considered a sunset industry that is overshadowed by higher-value manufacturing sectors (automotives and electronics, among them), the Thai garment and textiles sector remains a significant employer, providing jobs for some 850,000 workers -70% of them female, and many of them migrants from neighbouring countries (Myanmar, Cambodia and Lao PDR).  With a significant domestic textiles base, it is also one of the few vertically integrated apparel supply chains in the region.

The Thai garment sector faces significant challenges amid intense regional competition and lower production costs (in places like Vietnam and Bangladesh), although it has good infrastructure, logistics and supply chain linkages, as well as having retained a niche in certain higher value product categories (advanced synthetics used in sportswear, for example). Despite all the challenges, about US$7 billion worth of textiles and clothing were exported in 2019, accounting for 3% of total exports.    

Population

69,950,844 (2021)

Gross Domestic Product

constant USD

6,198

Human Development Index Ranking

HDI (out of 189 countries)

66 (2021)

Garment/Textile Workers

Number of workers in the garment/textile sector

859,400 (2020)

Women Workers in the Garment/Textile Industry

Percentage of women workers employed in the garment/textile industry

70%

Number of Garment/Textile Factories

Number of factories in the garment/textile industry

2,679 (2021)

Garment/Textile Industry Exports

(USD$ billion)

7 billion USD$ (2019)

Garment/Textile Industry Size

Percentage of total exports

3%

Key Garment/Textile Export Markets

Top five countries ($USD value exported and subsequent percentage)

Country Percentage of Exports
United States 18.0%
Japan 11,9%
China 7.0%
Vietnam 7.0%
Myanmar [Burma] 4.3%

Government Entities

Government agencies actively involved in the garment/textile industry

National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC)
Ministry of Commerce
Ministry of Industry
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Worker Organizations

Trade unions, Union federations, and other worker organizations

Labour Congress of Thailand (LCT)
State Enterprises Workers’ Relations Confederation (SERC)
Thai Trade Union Congress (TTUC)
National Congress Private Industrial of Employees (NCPE)
National Congress of Thai Labour (NCTL)
Federation of Textile and Garment, Sewing and Lather Goods of Thailand
Textile Industrial Labour Union

Employer/Industry Associations and Chambers of Commerce

Employers and industry related associations, private sectors associations and chambers of commerce

The Employers’ Confederation of Thailand 
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI)
The Thai Chamber of Commerce (Thai Chamber)
Thai Garment Manufacturers Association
Thai Textile Merchants Association
The Bobae Garment Association
The Association of Thai Bleaching, Dyeing, Printing and Finishing Industries
The Thai Silk Association
Thai Weaving Industry Association

Development Agencies/ International Organizations

National and international development organizations working within the garment/textile industry

Asia Foundation
UN Women
UNICEF

Civil Society Organizations/ Non-governmental Organizations

Organizations working within the garment/textile industry

Pratthanadee Foundation (Women)
Mae Sot Labour Law Clinic MRC (Migrant workers)
Chiang Mai MAP Foundation MRC (Migrant workers)
Arom Foundation

Sources of data provided

  1. Population: Population, tota - Thailand | Data (worldbank.org) 
  2. GDP Per Capita: GDP per capita (constant 2015 US$) - Thailand | Data (worldbank.org) 
  3. HDI: http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries
  4. Garment / Textile Workers: Labour force statistics (LFS) ILOSTAT Employment by sex and economic activity – ISIC level 2 (thousands) – Annual. Employment ISIC codes 13-15. https://ilostat.ilo.org/data/#
  5. Women Workers in the Garment /Textile Industry: Labour force statistics (LFS) ILOSTAT Employment by sex and economic activity – ISIC level 2 (thousands) – Annual. Employment ISIC codes 13-15. https://ilostat.ilo.org/data/# Female / Total
  6. Number of Garment / Textile Factories สถิติโรงงานอุตสาหกรรม – กรมโรงงานอุตสาหกรรม | Department of Industrial Works (diw.go.th); โรงงานอุตสาหกรรมสิ่งทอและเครื่องนุ่งห่ม ณ เดือนมกราคม-มีนาคม 2565 (thaitextile.org) 
  7. Garment / Textile Industry Exports: Thailand Products Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (worldbank.org) 
  8. Garment / Textile Industry Size Thailand Products Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (worldbank.org)
  9. Key Garment / Textile Export Market 

    https://unctadstat.unctad.org/wds/ReportFolders/reportFolders.aspx?Thailand Products Exports by country & region 2019 | WITS Data (worldbank.org) 

News on Thailand

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Nike defends sweatshops accusation in Thailand

"Sportswear giant Nike defended itself over accusations it is running sweatshops in Thailand, paying its factory workers 42 baht an hour to make England 2022 World Cup replica jerseys while they make ...

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England's £115 Qatar World Cup shirts made by Thai factory workers paid just £1 an hour

"Fans have expressed outrage at the prices for the current strip and costs have risen faster than inflation - with 'stadium' shirts starting at just under £75, while the 'match' shirts similar to the ...

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Local road closed after shoe factory fire next to Bang Na-Trat Highway

"Two workers suffered burns in the fire, which started at about 5.30pm. The first floor of the building is the showroom and the other floors are production units and shoe storage." ...

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Resources on Thailand

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The Asia Garment Hub  | May 18, 2021

ASEAN in transformation - Part 5: Electrical and electronics on and off the grid

A series of six reports prepared by ACT/EMP deals with different aspects and perspectives of ASEAN in transformation.

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The Asia Garment Hub  | May 17, 2021

Securing the competitiveness of Asia’s garment sector: A framework for enhancing factory-level productivity

ILO Asia-Pacific Working Paper Series This paper establishes the need for productivity interventions in the Asian ready-made garment sector. It argues the rationale for addressing factory productivity as part of a wider strategy including an integrated approach to securing the...

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GIZ Admin  | May 12, 2021

What next for Asian garment production after COVID-19? The perspectives of industry stakeholders

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GIZ Admin  | May 07, 2021

ASEAN in transformation - Part 1: How technology is changing jobs and enterprises

This report underlines the challenge before policy makers, enterprises, workers and those that represent them, in navigating the transformative technological changes in Asian labour markets in a way that is socially and economically sustainable.

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The Asia Garment Hub  | May 01, 2021