Thailand is keen to improve trade and investment relations with Bangladesh, with the aim of establishing a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries as soon as possible.
Speaking after a recent meeting in Bangkok with Abdur Rahim Khan, additional secretary (head of the export wing) of Bangladesh's Ministry of Commerce, along with a representative of the Bangladesh-Thai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BTCCI), Ekachat Seetavorarat, the deputy permanent commerce secretary, said Thailand sees significant potential in expanding the value of trade and investment with Bangladesh.
Both countries should seek ways to promote trade and investment collaboration, including by exploring the establishment of a Thai-Bangladesh FTA, said Mr Ekachat.
"This government wants to generate income for the country through economic diplomacy, expedited FTA negotiations, and by upgrading Thailand as a hub for various industries, including advanced technology, innovation, and sustainable sectors," he said.
"A Thailand-Bangladesh FTA would serve as a crucial mechanism to expand trade and investment. Thailand has conducted feasibility studies in previous years on an FTA."
The two countries are scheduled to hold the 6th Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting during March 3-4 in Dhaka next year.
According to Mr Ekachat, during the 6th JTC meeting, both parties will seek ways to enhance various aspects of economic collaboration, including the possibility of initiating negotiations for the Thailand-Bangladesh FTA.
Thailand plans to collaborate with Bangladesh next year to continuously expand bilateral trade.
Initiatives this year included inviting a delegation of Bangladeshi entrepreneurs from BTCCI to participate in trade negotiation activities and conduct on-site visits in Thailand last week.
This initiative is expected to contribute to increasing bilateral trade, he said.
Thailand also plans to organise the "Top Thai Brands 2024" project in July next year to further promote trade.
Last year, bilateral trade between Thailand and Bangladesh amounted to US$1.25 billion, a 2.5% decrease from 2021, with Thailand's exports to Bangladesh valued at $1.17 billion, down by 4.95% from 2021. Imports from Bangladesh last year were worth $83.1 million, representing a 53% increase.
During the first 10 months of this year, bilateral trade between the countries amounted to $880 million, a drop of 19.2% year-on-year. Thailand's exports to Bangladesh during this period tallied $799 million, down by 21.6%, while imports rose by 17.4% to $81 million.