Thailand has decided to offer the duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) facility for Bangladeshi products in its market until 2026 to enhance bilateral trade volume, officials said.
The previous such arrangement between the countries expired on December 31, 2020.
The Thai Embassy in Dhaka has recently conveyed its government's latest decision on the DFQF scheme to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC).
The Southeast Asian country has announced to extend the facility for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including Bangladesh, until December 2026, a senior official of the MoC said.
Meanwhile, the sixth Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting between the two countries is supposed to be held in Dhaka in January next.
"The most important platform for bilateral trade negotiations between Bangladesh and Thailand is the JTC," a high official said, adding that the fifth JTC meeting was held in Bangkok on January 08, 2020.
The meeting discussed the renewal of DFQF facility, as it was due to expire on December 31, 2020, according to a document of the Bangladesh mission in Thailand.
The Bangladesh embassy in the meantime continued its efforts for bilateral engagements through multi-pronged approaches.
But the Thai authority concerned informed Dhaka that it would take time, as the scheme had involvement of 46 countries. Thailand also suggested signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) for a quick solution in this connection.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Thailand dropped to US$910.05 million in 2020 from $1,067.90 million in 2019.
In 2019, Bangladesh utilised benefits of the DFQF scheme to the tune of $541,000. In 2019, the volume of Thailand's exports to Bangladesh amounted to $987.16 million, while that of Bangladesh to Thailand was $80.74 million.
Bangladesh exports products like knitwear, household articles, sewing thread, and jute rope and bags to the country.
Bangladesh would graduate from the least-developed country (LDC) status in 2026.
"We hope that the Thai government will continue providing the DFQF market access to Bangladesh even after the country's graduation in 2026," a high official said.
After expiring the DFQF facility in 2020, Bangladeshi exports to the Southeast Asian country faced setback, he added.