Thailand and Vietnam

Unlocking new opportunities.

The recent economic difficulties that Asia has faced are progressively fading. As food and oil prices have declined and global financial circumstances have improved. With over 650 million people, Southeast Asia offers a sizable market for consumers and a big opportunity for companies seeking growth. 

Governments in this region have put policies in place to encourage the expansion of particular sectors, like manufacturing, tourism, technology, and sustainability. Governments in the ASEAN area have made significant investments in education and training, creating a skilled and talented workforce with a high proportion of people under the age of 35. 

Hence, Thailand and Vietnam offer a multitude of business prospects for Dutch firms to invest in or expand to due to its strategic location, attractive business environment, and a young and skilled workforce.


Did you know that the Netherlands is the top EU investor in Thailand and that the trade relations between these two countries have existed for over more than four centuries? With its strategic location within ASEAN region is Thailand the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia. The GDP surpassed 510 billion US dollars in 2021 and their economic growth has an impressive rate around 4-5%. Thereby it is one of the most rapidly developing economies in Southeast Asia. Moreover, Thailand’s government introduced “Thailand 4.0” in 2016 to change the country’s economy into a value-based economy. It is an economic strategy that intents to “free Thailand from various economic difficulties and assist the nation in escaping the middle-income trap”. This economic model places a strong emphasis on sustainability, wealth, and security. 

Thailand is an unique destination for businesses to expand or explore chances because of its reasonably diversified economy, which includes a mix of the manufacturing, services, and agricultural sectors. The economy is significantly influenced by both the tourism and agricultural sectors. The COVID-19 epidemic has undoubtedly had an influence on the tourism sector, but it has continued to play a significant role in the economy. Thailand is a well-liked vacation and business travel location. Because of this, the economy of the nation is heavily dependent on exports. GDP is two thirds accounted for by exports. In addition, the resumption of free trade talks between the European Union and Thailand in March 2023 will provide excellent prospects for firms to invest or expand to Thailand in the near future. 

Thailand’s economy is significantly influenced by the agricultural industry, which also benefits from a wealth of natural resources. Nonetheless, agriculture has grown rather slowly when compared to other sectors of the economy. This is mainly because most farms continue to use traditional farming techniques, which have low productivity, low profitability, and high costs. The Thai government has prioritized updating and developing the agricultural industry in order to address these issues. This entails encouraging greater farming efficiency and lowering the use of water, fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals. As a result, there are huge opportunities for businesses that can provide the technologies and services necessary to assist achieve these objectives and make the agricultural sector more sustainable and lucrative. 

The aging population and rising medical tourism in Thailand, where healthcare is regarded favorably, are two additional factors driving the country’s medical equipment market’s 8-10% annual growth rate. The Thai government is dedicated to upholding the country’s leading position in healthcare and has developed a strategy plan to achieve the country’s positioning goals in four areas: wellness, academia, medical services, and pharmaceuticals. Therein lies the chance for Dutch enterprises to expand into Thailand. 

As a result of climate change, Thailand, a low-lying nation, is increasingly experiencing floods and drought. By exchanging expertise on issues like agriculture, water, and the climate, industry, especially Dutch business, may aid in solving these issues. 

In conclusion, Thailand is a desirable place for Dutch enterprises wishing to expand or explore new prospects due to its quickly developing economy, favorable business environment, strategic position, and diversified economic sectors. Its attraction is further increased by the government’s emphasis on sustainability and the growth of other industries, including healthcare and agriculture. Furthermore, the reopening of free trade negotiations between Thailand and the European Union offers a positive prognosis for growth and investment.


Vietnam has changed significantly in recent years as it has moved from being centrally planned economy to being market-oriented. As a result, the economy has had some of the quickest growth in all of Asia, with an average annual GDP growth rate of roughly 6.5%. Vietnam is a desirable market for long-term investment because of its consistent population growth and rising income. 

Additionally, the European Union and Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), which took effect on August 1, 2020, has created opportunities to expand trade and stimulate job creation and economic growth for both parties. The EVFTA eliminates 99% of tariffs, protects geographical designations, and upholds agreed-upon regulations. 

Vietnam’s business-friendly policies, compared to its Southeast Asian country peers, encourage a healthy influx of foreign capital. Due to the nation’s determination to open its borders and economy, it is quite easy to conduct business, travel and live a regular, mobile life there. As a result, it has consistently experiences rapid growth when compared to other low-cost countries. Vietnam-based firms can take use of the excellent conditions provided by its position in Asia along important regional shipping routes. As of January 2022, Vietnam had 114 seaports, several of which were deepwater ports, along its over 3200 kilometers of coastline. Major projects are being implemented in logistical centres of Hanoi, Haiphong, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City in the transportation and logistics sector, offering chances for foreign businesses to help improve local waterways and providing opportunities for foreign companies, especially Dutch companies, to assist in improving domestic waterways. 

Moreover, there are still many potential in the Vietnamese wind energy market. The Vietnamese government promotes renewable energy, and there is still room for growth in the usage of wind power. For instance, there are several opportunities for Dutch developers, financial experts, and technical consultants. 

In order to retain the country’s strong attraction to international investors, the Vietnamese government also provides a number of investment-related business incentives and is constantly improving through reforms and by upgrading its incentives. The tax benefits are frequently one of the most significant and alluring aspects of the Vietnamese business environment for foreign investors. Moreover, the government also boasts of a dynamic business environment and extensive network of free trade agreements with various other nations as well as the EU, RCEP, and CPTPP signatories. Vietnam is becoming a hotspot for businesses from around the world looking to diversify their Asian presence, access the Vietnam and South Asian markets, complement their China operations, and take advantage of highly attractive free trade agreements, production, and market advantages as a result of specific trends that are driving further increases in the nations’ inbound investment. 

Overall, Vietnam offers several options for investors and companies wishing to expand into Southeast Asia because to its export-oriented economy, over 90 bilateral trade agreements, and approximately 60 bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements. It is a viable area for investment and development thanks to its expanding economy, youthful and skilled workforce, and advantageous position.