More information about Thailand is available on the Thailand country page and from other Department of State publications and other sources listed at the end of this fact sheet.
The U.S.-Thai alliance benefits both our nations and supports peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. The first documented contact between the United States and Thailand was recorded in 1818. The first agreement signed with Thailand was the 1833 Treaty of Amity and Commerce. Since World War II, the United States and Thailand have significantly expanded diplomatic, security, and commercial relations and people-to-people ties. As of 2021, the United States commemorates nearly 190 years of friendly and formalized diplomatic relations with Thailand.
The United States and Thailand remain parties to the 1954 Manila Pact of the former Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), which, together with the Thanat-Rusk communiqué of 1962 and the 2020 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance, constitutes the foundation of the U.S.-Thai defense alliance. In 2003, the United States designated Thailand a major non-NATO Ally.
U.S. Assistance to Thailand
Our partnership with Thailand is bilateral and regional in scope. U.S. support is geared toward promoting regional security and prosperity; infectious disease prevention, treatment, and research; combatting emerging pandemic threats; humanitarian assistance for displaced persons; combatting transnational crime, including conservation crimes; support for civil society; and the promotion of democracy and human rights.
The United States supports Thailand’s leadership in the Mekong region through the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP) as a development partner of the Mekong River Commission and as a development partner of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS), a partnership between the five Mekong–region countries to coordinate infrastructure development. Through the MUSP, the U.S. collaborates with Thailand and other Lower Mekong countries to strengthen transboundary economic connections and address emerging challenges, such as resource management, transnational crime, transparency and good governance, and human resource development.
The nine U.S. law enforcement agencies operating in Thailand with their Thai counterparts reflects the importance we place on Thailand as a partner and regional law enforcement leader. The United States and Thailand jointly operate the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok, which since 1998 has provided training to more than 22,000 criminal justice sector officials from across Southeast Asia on topics such as counter-narcotics, countering trafficking in persons, cybercrime, and wildlife trafficking.
Thailand and the United States co-host Cobra Gold, the Indo-Pacific region’s largest annual multinational military exercise. Since 1950, Thailand has received U.S. military equipment, essential supplies, training, and other assistance in the construction and improvement of facilities. We have $2.85 billion in ongoing Foreign Military Sales and an annual slate of more than 400 joint military exercises and engagements.
U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers, active in Thailand since 1962, focus on English teacher training in primary schools and youth life skills development. For more than 60 years, U.S. agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have partnered with Thai counterparts to safeguard the health of American, Thai, and international communities through medical research and innovation. Since 2017, USAID’s HIV/AIDS programs have benefitted more than 65,000 Thais, while U.S. assistance over the past 20 years has contributed to a decline in malaria deaths in the country of over 90 percent.
To control the spread of COVID-19 in Thailand, the United States has committed nearly $8.5 million to provide supplies for laboratories and frontline health care workers, increase communications to communities, and support response capacity as well as food security in all nine camps on the Thailand-Burma border hosting refugees from Burma. USAID environment programs conserve biodiversity, expand the use of data to inform policy decisions, including air quality, counter wildlife trafficking, and promote access to safe, affordable, reliable, and modern sources of energy.
The U.S. government funds several exchange programs which connect Thai youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and rising leaders to their counterparts in the United States and the ASEAN region, engaging them on strategic priorities ranging from civic engagement to economic sustainability. Thailand’s alumni community from U.S. government exchange programs is robust, as more than 6,000 Thais have visited the United States under the Fulbright Program, the International Visitor Leadership Program, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI), and other programs. YSEALI’s local network in Thailand has grown to over 16,000 members since its inception in 2013.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The IMF estimates Thailand’s GDP at $538.7 billion (April 2021), making it the largest economy in Mainland Southeast Asia, second largest in ASEAN, and larger than some members of the G20. Thailand is currently the United States’ 19th-largest goods trading partner, with $48.8 billion in two-way goods trade during 2020. The United States contributed $17.7 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Thailand in 2019, making it the third-largest foreign investor after Japan ($70 billion) and Singapore ($30 billion).
The U.S.-Thailand Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed in 2002 and provides the strategic framework and principles for dialogue and cooperation on trade and investment issues between the United States and Thailand. In the most recent U.S.-Thailand TIFA meeting, the two sides reaffirmed the importance of working together to strengthen the bilateral trade relationship and discussed a full range of issues, including those related to General System of Preferences reviews, agriculture, customs, intellectual property protection and enforcement, and labor.
Thailand’s Membership in International Organizations
Since becoming a member of the United Nations in 1946, Thailand has played many active roles in UN-related activities, most notably in peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations. Thailand is also a founding member of ASEAN and served as ASEAN Chair most recently in 2019.
Thailand and the United States participate in a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Thailand will also host APEC in 2022.
The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Thailand since January 2021 is Michael Heath. Other principal officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List. The United States Mission to Thailand maintains an Embassy in Bangkok and a Consulate-General in Chiang Mai.
Thailand maintains three Consulates-General in the United States in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, and a Trade Center in Miami.
Thailand’s Embassy in the United States is at 1024 Wisconsin Avenue 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: