Bangladesh and Thailand have agreed to seriously explore the prospects of an FTA (free trade agreement) to further enhance the bilateral trade between the two countries.
Bangladesh and Thailand held the third Foreign Office Consultations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Bangladesh also apprised the Thai side that a qualitative feasibility study is being undertaken by the Ministry of Commerce in this regard.
Bangladesh and Thailand agreed to hold the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) in Dhaka this year at a mutually convenient time to review the whole range of bilateral trade and investment portfolio, and increase the volume and diversity of trade to its true potential.
Bangladesh requested the Thai side to ease the trade regime of Thailand in the form of removal of non-tariff barriers, duty waiver/reduction etc. for Bangladeshi products to help achieve a better balance in the bilateral trade.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, while Sarun Charoensuwan, permanent secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, led the Thai side.
Senior officials of the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture, Industries, Civil Aviation and Tourism and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) also attended the meeting.
The meeting discussed the whole gamut of the Bangladesh-Thailand bilateral relations. The 2nd FOC was held in Bangkok last year.
Both sides appreciated the existing excellent bilateral relations and reaffirmed their commitment for raising the profile of bilateral ties to newer heights in the coming days.
The two sides lauded the growing pace of engagement and enthusiasm in areas of political, economic, social and cultural ties and agreed to further explore new areas of cooperation.
The meeting took stock of cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, health services, tourism, defence cooperation, consular cooperation, agriculture and agro-processing, manufacturing, connectivity, ICT, energy, cultural exchange and people to people contacts.
The two sides also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.
During the meeting, the foreign secretary expressed satisfaction that both countries marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with commemorative events throughout 2022 in a befitting manner.
The permanent secretary for foreign affairs of Thailand assured that the country will continue its support to enhance collaboration and cooperation in combating transnational crimes.
By stressing the need for mutual accreditation and recognition of standards, the foreign secretary expressed hope that the draft MoU on testing and standardization of products would be finalized at the earliest.
A 15-member business delegation was accompanying the Thai permanent secretary who were taking part in various business events including the just concluded Business Summit and the business matchmaking and networking with the Bangladeshi business leaders held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Foreign Secretary Masud highly appreciated the presence of the Thai business delegation on the occasion of the 3rd FOC in Dhaka.
Thailand appreciated the high potential and lucrative areas for profitable investment in Bangladesh, both in unitary and joint venture formats. Both sides agreed to mobilize greater dynamism in the B2B institutional cooperation between trade bodies and joint chambers of the two countries.
The foreign secretary lauded Thailand's successes and experiences in the sectors of poultry, fisheries, and other agro-based industries and sought the Thai government's cooperation in agro-based industries to develop capacity through training and technology transfer.
He also suggested partnership and research related collaborations on aquaculture and marine biodiversity.
The foreign secretary appreciated the visit of the Director General of South Asia and Central Asia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand to the Cox's Bazar Rohingya Camp the next day.
He called for a more proactive role by the Thai government for ensuring voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya people currently sheltered in Bangladesh to their homeland in Myanmar.