Thailand and Bangladesh pursue free trade agreement

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

PM Srettha confirmed that Thailand and Bangladesh are keen on pursuing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The two nations signed a letter of intent last week to speed up the negotiation process, marking a significant milestone in their collaborative efforts.

Speaking at a press conference following his meeting with Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the 62 year old Thai PM expressed his delight at the agreed commitment to work towards an FTA. He was present during the signing of five agreements and a Memorandum of Understanding at the Government House in Bangkok.

In addition to these, there were three other Memorandums of Understanding and an agreement signed on the same day. These included an Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Official Passports, designed to encourage travel between Thai and Bangladeshi officials; an MoU on Energy Cooperation to maximise benefits from energy cooperation; an MoU on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters to enhance border control and combat smuggling; and an MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Tourism for mutual exchange of knowledge and industry best practices.

Srettha highlighted that both countries also plan to bolster their cooperation in agriculture, particularly in the halal and food processing sectors. They intend to utilise their resources effectively to ensure food security for their citizens.

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“Both nations value the enhancement of infrastructure and connectivity. The initiation of direct shipping between Ranong Port and Chittagong Port will strengthen maritime connectivity and stimulate economic activities.”

The prime minister also mentioned the bilateral trade volume of US$1.2 billion (approximately 44 billion baht) between Thailand and Bangladesh, expressing optimism for further expansion of economic cooperation. He urged Bangladesh to introduce investment promotion schemes and ease business operations to attract more Thai investors, reported Bangkok Post.

Srettha revealed that the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) Summit will take place this year in Thailand, with Bangladesh set to become the succeeding Bimstec chair. Bimstec is recognised as a vital catalyst for regional economic growth.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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