The Trade Negotiations Department under the Thai Ministry of Commerce on Friday released latest figures in Bangkok, indicating that Thailand has now become the world's largest exporter of durian, with Malaysia trailing behind.
Oramon Sapthaweetham, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said that in the first half of 2019, Thailand has exported fresh durian estimated at 817 million U.S. dollars, up by 45 percent from the same period of last year.
"Thailand's main markets were China and countries in South-East Asia," said Oramon, "these markets purchased 79 percent of Thai durian exports."
Oramon said that in the first six months of 2019, durian exports to China amounted to 425 million U.S. dollars while countries in Southeast Asia were valued at 219 million U.S. dollars.
Oramon attributed the huge exports to Thailand's free trade agreements with 16 countries that lifted tariffs on durian fruits from Thailand.
The 0% tariff deals existed with Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Chiles, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, she said.
In the first half of this year, fresh durian fruits accounted for 44% of total Thai fruit exports, she said. In addition to Thailand, the fruit is cultivated in Malaysia and Indonesia.