Thailand, Bangladesh to forge closer trade ties

Economy May 13, 2013 00:00

By Petchanet Pratruangkrai


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Thailand and Bangladesh plan to forge closer cooperation under the Joint Trade Committee (JTC), meeting this month, aimed at doubling bilateral trade between the two countries within the next three years. The Third JTC meeting will be held in Bangkok on T

Piramol Charoenpao, director-general of the Trade Negotiations Department, said the JTC meeting would be an opportunity to develop existing strategies to reduce trade barriers between the two countries, as well as look at new ways to promote trade and investment.

The JTC is a mechanism initiated by the Thai government to forge closer cooperation with strategic trading partners. Thailand has also held joint trade meetings with such countries as Cambodia and Bahrain to promote closer trade and investment ties.

Under the trade plan, Thailand and Bangladesh hope to double the value of bilateral trade by 2016 from that of 2012 – valued at $851.36 million (Bt25.25 trillion). Thailand will also propose that Bangladesh extend its contract for purchasing Thai rice over the next three years.

Thailand currently enjoys a high trade surplus with Bangladesh. Exports from Thailand were valued at $764.47 million, while imports were valued at $86.89 million last year. Bangladesh is the 51st trading partner with the Kingdom.

Piramol said Thailand would also propose that Bangladesh extend its purchasing contract for Thai parboiled rice till 2016.

The two countries will also discuss measures to facilitate trade and services growth, reduce unbalanced trade, promote investment and support regional integration under the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or Bimstec.

Bimstec is comprised of seven countries in South and Southeast Asia, which aim to achieve their own free-trade zone by 2017. The seven include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Piramol said Bangladesh was an important partner that offered high potential as an investment base for Thai businesses. With its growing economy, large population, low labour costs and tax privileges for exports to developing countries, Thai investors should consider increasing trade and investment in country, he said.

Thailand and Bangladesh signed a trade agreement on August 22, 1977, and set up the JTC in 1986, however only two meetings have been held since then.