Dhaka Tribune - 24 November 2021
Dhaka, Bangkok working on sealing FTA
However, before sealing an FTA, trade balance must be established between the two countries
Thailand and Bangladesh are working closely to ink a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the country’s envoy said during a meeting with Bangladeshi business leaders on Tuesday.
Ambassador Makawadee Sumitmor said this during a meeting with FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin at his office.
Progress has been made on the FTA between Thailand and Bangladesh, according to a press release issued by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
The ambassador also expressed her country’s interest in increasing imports from Bangladesh to boost bilateral trade.
The FBCCI president said Bangladesh should sign FTA or PTA with other countries as Dhaka may lose some international trade advantages after graduating to a developing economy in 2026.
However, before sealing an FTA, trade balance must be established between the two countries, he also said.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has long been in favour of Thailand.
Covid-19 affected trade between Bangladesh and Thailand – the bilateral trade between the two countries dropped to $910.05 million in 2020 from $1,067.90 million in 2019.
Bilateral trade during the January-May period stood at $448.68 million in 2019 as against $413.24 million during the same period in 2020.
In 2019, Thailand exported goods valued at $987.16 million to Bangladesh, while Bangladesh’s exports to Thailand stood at $80.74 million.
Therefore, the FBCCI president urged Thai investors to invest more in Bangladesh.
Thai investment can be lucrative, especially in the agro-processing sector, he said.
At the same time, citing the examples of China, Japan, Korea and India, he mentioned that many countries have taken up separate economic zones for their own investors.
He said Thailand can also take such a step.
The Thai ambassador said that if the products are branded, there is a possibility of creating huge demand for Bangladeshi products in his country.
“In particular, there is a huge opportunity to export readymade garments, leather goods and fish from Bangladesh,” she said.
FBCCI Senior Vice President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, FBCCI Vice President Md Habib Ullah Don, and FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque were also present on the occasion.