Newly appointed Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh Makawadee Sumitmore has called for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Thailand to create more business opportunities between the two countries.
She made the call while paying a courtesy call on the board of directors of the Bangladesh Thai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BTCCI) at the Royal Thai Embassy in Dhaka on Sunday, the chamber said in a media release on Monday.
The chamber placed some proposals before her for enhancing trade and investment ties between the two countries.
BTCCI discussed some important issues with the new Thai envoy to make the business policy easier, to work jointly in the Thai Special Economic Zone in Bangladesh, to include more duty-free Bangladeshi products, and to relocate labour-intensive industries to Bangladesh.
The new Thai envoy assured the business leaders of working on all the proposals of BTCCI.
The ambassador thanked the board of directors for coming forward to discuss the bilateral issues of Bangladesh and Thailand and emphasised the ways and means to promote bilateral trade and investment such as signing of an FTA, development of ports on Thailand’s Andaman coast to shorten the sea transport route to Bangladesh, and exploration of the possibility to co-organise events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.
Mohammad Shahjahan Khan, president of BTCCI, said, “We have lots of scope of cooperation to work jointly in some important sectors including pharmaceuticals, jute and jute goods, leather, tourism and hospitality, infrastructure, agro-processing, RMG, etc.”
“As we have a huge trade gap between our countries, we should put joint efforts to minimise it," he said.
The BTCCI president also put emphasis on increasing export from Bangladesh to Thailand and requested Thai officials to add more Bangladeshi products to their import list.
He also requested the ambassador to work on the easy sea connectivity from Thailand to Bangladesh.
FBCCI Vice President and BTCCI former President M A Momen emphasised more cooperation between the two business communities and suggested conducting more studies for a joint venture, especially in woven textile factories, electronic goods, foods and various services sectors.
He said Bangladesh provides a low-cost production base and competitive labour market for Thai businesspersons and therefore Bangladesh could be their investment destination.
Engineer Rashed Maksud Khan, founder president of BTCCI and former president of DCCI, underscored the need for strengthening the already established ties between Bangladesh and Thailand.
He stressed that different potential sectors of the two countries could also be explored more.
Among others, Khemathat Archwathamrong, minister counsellor (Commercial) & BTCCI honorary director, Shamima Rahman, M Salem Sulaiman, Hossain A Shikder, Kiatkati Chaopanknam, Md Junaed Ibne Ali, Md Ahsanuzzaman, Zubair Hassan Chowdhury, Brahmanda Pratap Barua, directors and Md Nazmul Hossen, secretary of BTCCI, were present during the courtesy call.