Bangladesh and Thailand have set a new target of increasing bilateral trade to US$ 1.8 billion by 2021 and expressed satisfaction with the steadily growing bilateral trade to the tune of US$ $ 1 billion between the two Bay of Bengal countries.
During the fourth Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade on G2G (government to government) basis for the period of 2017-2021 was signed between Bangladesh and Thailand to complement and maintain stable rice markets of the two countries.
The MoU will facilitate up to 10 lakh tonnes of rice import from Thailand each year till 2021.
The MoU was signed by Food Minister Qamrul Islam and Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn.
A list of 36 Bangladeshi products has already been handed over to the Thai side for duty-free-quota-free (DFQF) market access.
Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn arrived and attended the fourth Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between the two countries.
Apiradi Tantraporn led the Thai side with a 20-member trade delegation comprising high officials of the Thai government and top Thai chambers.
The last JTC meeting was held in Bangkok in 2013.
The 4th ministerial-level meeting was co-chaired by Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and his Thai counterpart.
The meeting discussed trade and investment issues pertinent to both the economies, including ways and means for increasing bilateral trade and investment, trade concessions, DFQF market access, Free Trade Agreement, strategic economic partnerships, investment and health services, mutual recognition of standards etc.
The Thai Commerce Minister held a bilateral meeting with her Bangladesh counterpart Tofail Ahmed.
Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose and Thai Department of Trade Negotiations Director General Boonyarit Kalayanamit reviewed on Wednesday the decisions taken by the two countries so far.
The Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) also negotiated the final outcome document of the 4th JTC to be finalised by the two commerce ministers on Thursday.
Earlier in 2012, the two countries set a target of doubling bilateral trade by 2016 but could not achieve that due to meaningful tariff concessions, according to Bangladesh Embassy in Bangkok.
Bangladesh exports to Thailand enjoyed a 38 percent growth in FY 2016-17 while Thai export to Bangladesh had an 11 percent growth the same year.
Bangladesh's major exports to Thailand include RMG, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, light engineering machinery, seeds and plants while Thai export to Bangladesh include plastics resins and petrochemical, clinkers, machinery, toiletries and consumer products, including agricultural products, and cotton yarn.
Bangladesh called upon the Thai side to encourage Thai entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh's promising sectors, including tourism, infrastructure, power generation, agro and food processing, health services, light engineering and IT, officials said.
Bangladesh offered a Special Economic Zone to Thai private entrepreneurs. A number of leading Thai Companies have already invested in Bangladesh in the poultry and food processing, infrastructure development, ceramic and tiles, and energy and LPG sectors.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed hosted a dinner for his Thai counterpart on Thursday.
The Thai Commerce Minister is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Friday morning.
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