Bangladesh on Thursday sought duty-free and quota-free market access for its 26 products in Thailand to reduce trade imbalance between the two Asian countries.
The trade gap is highly in favour of Thailand.
Following a two-day meeting of the Bangladesh-Thailand Joint Trade Committee held at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka in August 9-10, Bangladesh commerce minister Tofail Ahmed and Thai commerce minister Apiradi Tantaraporn said that the two Bay of Bengal neighbours would work together to target bilateral trade to reach $2 billion by 2021.
At a joint press conference on the outcome of the 4th JTC meeting, both the ministers expressed their satisfaction over the steady growth of bilateral trade which now stands very close to $1 billion.
Tofail Ahmed said that Bangladesh proposed that Thailand sign free trade agreement to boost bilateral trade and business.
The Thai government has agreed to the proposal and the JTC has decided to conduct fusibility study on FTA, Tofail said.
‘In the meeting, we have set the target of bilateral trade at $2 billion by 2021 and urged Thailand to extend duty-free and quota-free market access for 36 Bangladeshi products including jute goods, agro products and leather products,’ he said.
Tofail urged the Thai minister to encourage Thai entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh particularly in tourism, infrastructure, power generation, agro and food processing, health service, light engineering and information technology.
He offered special economic zone for the Thai investors.
Currently, more than 100 Thai companies are doing business in Bangladesh with investments worth $1.5 billion.
Thai minister Apiradi said they want to be a partner of the economic development of Bangladesh and the 4th JTC meeting would consolidate mutual trade and investment relationship between the two countries.
Regarding a proposal from Bangladesh to accept the certification of Bangladesh Standard Testing Institution, the Thai minister said that they would consider the issue.
The two ministers announced that the two countries would continue promoting a number of trade and investment activities including holding of meetings of joint working group on investment and on health services on a regular basis and upgrading road and maritime connectivity.
During the meeting of joint trade committee, a memorandum of understanding on rice trade for the period of 2017-2021 was signed by Bangladesh food minister Qamrul Islam and Apiradi.
Under the agreement, Thailand will allow Bangladesh to import one million tonnes of rice every year.
According to the decision of the meeting, the 5th JTC meeting will be held in Thailand in 2018.
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