Dhaka pursues FTA with Bangkok

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka | Updated at 12:45am on August 31, 2018

Minister attached to Thai prime minister’s office Kobsak Pootrakool has said Thailand looks forward to immediately initiate discussions for a memorandum of understanding on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Bangladesh.
The Thai minister Kobsak said this when Bangladesh ambassador to Thailand, Saida Muna Tasneem met Kobsak at the Thai prime minister’s office in Bangkok on Thursday.
The meeting focused on a wide range of trade-investment and private sector cooperation issues between Bangladesh and Thailand as a follow-up to the official visit of minister Kobsak to Bangladesh in May this year when he led a high-powered 32-member business and investment delegation including high officials from Royal Thai government.
The prospects for a comprehensive FTA between Bangladesh and Thailand to reduce tariff and promote bilateral investment and transfer of technology was preliminarily discussed during the visit, said the Bangladesh embassy.
Minister Kobsak and Bangladesh envoy discussed the modalities for initiating negotiations between the commerce ministries of Bangladesh and Thailand, primarily focusing on reduction of bilateral tariff and trade barriers and double bilateral trade by 2021.
Ambassador Tasneem also underlined that Bangladesh should be utilised by Thailand as ASEAN’s western gateway for trade and investment with South Asian nations utilising the Chittagong Port as well as the upcoming Matarbari Deep Sea Port.
Bangladesh ambassador also followed up on the proposals for MOUs between Thai BOI and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority as well as between Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority and Thai Industrial Zone’s Authority.
Ambassador Tasneem also reiterated a proposal to open a new frontier in Bangladesh-Thailand economic relations by recruiting Bangladesh’s semi-skilled and low skilled workers in Thaialnd’s fisheries, construction, industry, agriculture and services sector.
Minister Kobsak informed Bangladesh ambassador that pursuant to Bangladesh’s proposal for a coastal shipping MOU between Chittagong Port of Bangladesh and Ranong Port of Thailand, the Thai cabinet has very recently approved expansion and capacity building of Ranong port to facilitate coastal trade with Bangladesh and other BIMSTEC countries.
High officials from Thai prime minister’s office, Thai foreign ministry and Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok were present during the meeting.