More information about Thailand is available on the Thailand Page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The United States and Thailand established diplomatic relations in 1882 and signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce in 1833 . Thailand is a constitutional monarchy headed by a civilian government. Over the decades, Thai democracy has been interrupted by militarycoups and rule, and civic and political unrest. Thailand is a key U.S. security ally in Asia, and the country's stability and growth are important to the maintenance of peace in the region. Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have significantly expanded diplomatic and commercial relations.
The United States and Thailand are among the signatories of the 1954 Manila Pact of the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). Despite the dissolution of the SEATO in 1977, the Manila Pact remains in force and, together with the Thanat-Rusk communiqué of 1962, constitutes the basis of U.S. security commitments to Thailand. In 2003, the United States designated Thailand a Major Non-NATO Ally.
U.S. Assistance to Thailand
U.S. foreign assistance, in partnership with the Royal Thai Government, focuses on strengthening Thailand’s democratic institutions and our security cooperation both bilaterally and in the region. U.S. assistance aims to strengthen Thai efforts to reform the criminal justice system, promote good governance through democracy and rule of law activities, and invest in people through humanitarian assistance for displaced persons and control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other infectious diseases. The United States also supports Thailand’s ongoing active contributions to regional and global security.
Thailand and the United States have longstanding cooperation in international law enforcement efforts. The United States and Thailand work closely together and with the United Nations on a broad range of programs to halt illicit drug trafficking and other criminal activity, such as trafficking in persons. Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential supplies, training, and assistance in the construction and improvement of facilities and installations for much of the period since 1950. As part of their mutual defense cooperation, Thailand and the United States have developed a vigorous joint military exercise program, which engages all the services of each nation and averages 40 joint exercises per year.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Regional Development Mission for Asia in Bangkok, supports regional, transnational, and bilateral programs. These programs include work on the responsible use of natural resources; reduction of the incidence of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases; prevention of human and wildlife trafficking; resolution of political conflict and increased citizen participation in political processes; and the achievement of an integrated Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community by 2015. USAID and the Thailand International Development Cooperation Agency ("TICA") are engaged in discussions on possible partnership to address development needs in third countries in the region. U.S. Peace Corps volunteers focus on primary education, with an integrated program involving teacher training, health education, and environmental education. In 2003, the Peace Corps also established an organizational development program aimed at promoting sustainable rural development in Thai communities.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The United States is Thailand’s third-largest bilateral trading partner, after Japan and China, with total trade valued at more than $35 billion in 2011. The United States is also one of the largest investors in Thailand, bringing in more than $466 million in net foreign direct investment in 2011. Leading Thai imports from the U.S. include machinery, chemicals, gold, optic and medical goods, aircraft, and agricultural products. Thai exports to the United States include machinery, rubber, prepared meat, shrimp and tuna, jewelry, and other agricultural products.
The 1966 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, the most recent iteration of the 1833 Treaty of Amity and Commerce, facilitates U.S. and Thai companies' economic access to one another's markets. The two countries also have agreements addressing sales of agricultural commodities and investment guarantees.
The Thai-U.S. Creative Partnership builds on existing public-private and intergovernmental relationships, seeking to emphasize innovative industry, identify new opportunities for collaborative ingenuity between the two countries, and spur increased productivity.
Thailand's Membership in International Organizations
Thailand is a founding member of ASEAN and strongly supports its efforts to promote economic development, social integration, and stability throughout the region. Thailand and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Thailand also is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and an Organization of American States observer.
Thailand maintains an embassy in the United States at 1024 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington DC 20007 (tel. 202-944-3600).
More information about Thailand is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Department of State Thailand Country Page
Department of State Key Officers List
CIA World Factbook Thailand Page
U.S. Embassy: Thailand
USAID Thailand Page
History of U.S. Relations With Thailand
Human Rights Reports
International Religious Freedom Reports
Trafficking in Persons Reports
Narcotics Control Reports
Investment Climate Statements
Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Countries Page
U.S. Census Bureau Foreign Trade Statistics
Export.gov International Offices Page
Library of Congress Country Studies
Travel and Business Information