Industrial policy and the development of the automotive industry in Thailand

Kaoru Natsuda, John Thoburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


It has been argued that restrictions on industrial policy implemented under World Trade Organization rules in the 2000s have greatly reduced the 'policy space' in which developing countries can promote industrialisation. This paper examines the case of Thailand's policies in developing one of the most successful automotive industries in the Southeast Asian region. We show that Thailand's use of local content requirements, later abolished under WTO rules, helped promote local suppliers and did not deter foreign investors. Substantial tariff protection of vehicles and components production did not deter exports, and has continued to the present, even under liberalisation policies. Supplementing tariff protection by various fiscal means to promote product champions in the automotive industry, Thailand has succeeded in retaining substantial policy freedom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-437
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of the Asia Pacific Economy
Issue number3
Early online date5 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this