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Thailand keen on robust engagement with Bangladesh

During a call by Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand Saida Muna Tasneem yesterday afternoon at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand expressed his government’s keen interest for a more active and robust engagement with Bangladesh towards strengthening diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries.

During the meeting, Bangladesh Ambassador reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment for a closer diplomatic, trade and investment partnership with Thailand, especially given the close proximity the two countries enjoy geographically sharing extended sea linkages on the Andaman Sea with a common neighbour, Myanmar in between. Referring to the prevailing trade imbalance between the two countries, Ambassador Tasneem requested the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs that Thailand, reaching the higher Middle Income Country status, needs to accord DFQF market access to Bangladesh for select products including apparels, jute and jute goods, leather and leather products, medicines, sacks and bags, chemical products, etc to offset the imbalance heavily tilted towards Thailand.

The Ambassador also requested the Thai Deputy Prime Minister to encourage Thai investors to invest in Bangladesh especially in the tourism and hospitality, power generation, food processing, automobiles, machinery, electronics, ship-building, hospital and health services industry.

Ambassador Tasneem specifically highlighted need for new areas of cooperation specially finalization and early signing between the two countries of bilateral cooperation instruments including on exemption of visa for diplomatic and official passports, cooperation of employment of Bangladeshi workers in Thailand, Technical Cooperation on fisheries and livestock, and between Bangladesh Accreditation Board and the Thai Industrial Standards Institute.

Referring to her recent calls on the Thai Ministers of ICT, Tourism and Sports and Industry over the past one month, the Ambassador stressed on exploring new institutional cooperation between the two countries during her tenure, specially on tourism and culture cooperation, defence and security including on UN peacekeeping, and industrial and technological exchanges between public and private sectors of the two countries.

Ambassador Tasneem also underscored the importance of holding the first-ever meeting of the Foreign Office Consultations at the level of Foreign Secretaries of the two countries in Dhaka early this year as agreed in the Joint Statement of 2012 signed during the visit of former Thai PM to Dhaka. This would pave the way for the much awaited 7th Joint Commission Meeting at the Foreign Ministers level in Dhaka in late 2015 and the Joint Trade Council Meeting between the two Commerce Ministers.

The Thai Deputy Prime Minister echoed the views of the Ambassador and opined that the first-ever Foreign Office Consultations could be held in early May this year and assured the Ambassador of positive consideration by the Thai government on all her proposals including visa exemption for diplomatic and official passports and conclusion of new agreements in the areas of labour employment, Standards and fisheries and livestocks.

The Thai DPM also hoped that during the tenure of the Ambassador, bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Thailand would reach to newer heights with visible outcomes. He assured all out cooperation as the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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