Bangladesh has signed a memorandum of understanding or MoU to buy one million tonnes of rice a year from Thailand. The two countries have agreed to begin talks on reaching a free trade agreement (FTA). Speaking at a Thai-Bangladesh Joint-Trade Committee (JTC) meeting in Dhaka on Thursday, Thai Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the countries had agreed to hold negotiations that could lead to an FTA within the next few years, the Bangkok Post reported.
The proposed FTA is likely to cover a wide range of fields including agriculture, food-processing, fishery, construction, energy and tourism, reports bdnews24.com. On the sidelines of the meeting, Food Minister Qamrul Islam signed the MoU with Apiradi to buy 1 million tonnes of Thai rice a year in government-to-government (G-to-G) contacts to secure its food staples, according to the newspaper.
"Thailand is happy to be the supplier to Bangladesh," it quoted her as saying. The deal would double trade value to $2 billion by 2021, according to the report. However, a deal for Bangladesh to buy an additional 200,000 tonnes of Thai rice has yet to be sealed as the two countries are still negotiating a price, the minister added.
The last minister-level Joint Trade Commission meeting between the two countries was held in 2013. It was the third such meeting. Officials said the fifth meeting will be held in Bangkok at a date to be fixed after discussions.
-AA News Desk
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