The Structure of Commodity Trade between Thailand and Vietnam (2004-2013)

Quang Hoan Truong




By using several international commodity classification systems, as well as trade pattern indices, this study investigates trends and changes that have taken place in the structure of commodity trade between Thailand and Vietnam over the past decade (2004-2013). The principal findings of this study are as follows. First, along with the rapid growth in bilateral trade volume, trade composition between Thailand and Vietnam has positively changed towards an increasing share of traded manufactured goods. In particular, there has been a considerable rise in the share of high technology products exported to Thailand from Vietnam, although Vietnam is able to participate in the assembling and processing stages with low value added. Second, Vietnam’s exports have been less diversified as compared with Thailand. Third, both countries have enjoyed a comparative advantage in primary products, but there have been more medium and high technology products with high RCA value in Thailand’s exports than Vietnam’s. This study, therefore, concludes that the trade structure between the two countries is a complementary competitive relationship. This suggests that strengthening economic, trade and investment cooperation relations between Thailand and Vietnam is expected to move the Thailand-Vietnam commodity trade structure to higher value added products and more products with technological improvements in the upcoming years.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 10/2017 (Number 1), Page 73-97)


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