The 3rd Foreign Office Consultations between Bangladesh and Thailand took place on March 14, 2023 in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Ambassador Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, while Mr. Sarun Charoensuwan, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, led the Thai side. Senior officials of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Agriculture, Industries, Civil Aviation and Tourism and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) also attended the meeting. The meeting discussed the whole gamut of the Bangladesh-Thailand bilateral relations. The 2nd FOC was held in Bangkok last year.
Both sides appreciated the existing excellent bilateral relations and reaffirmed their commitment for raising the profile of bilateral relations to newer heights in the coming days. The two sides lauded the growing pace of engagement and enthusiasm in areas of political, economic, social and cultural ties and agreed to further explore new areas of cooperation. The meeting took stock of cooperation, among others, in the areas of trade, investment, health services, tourism, defence cooperation, consular cooperation, agriculture & agro-processing, manufacturing, connectivity, ICT, energy, cultural exchange and people to people contacts. The two sides also exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Foreign Secretary reiterated Bangladesh’s keenness on joining the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and as a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN.
During the meeting, Foreign Secretary expressed satisfaction that both countries marked the historic occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties with commemorative events together throughout 2022 in a befitting manner. Both sides stressed the importance of continuing the upward momentum in the relationship through exchanges of regular visits and consultations, and agreed to hold the next Bangladesh-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting at Foreign Ministers’ level in Bangkok at a mutually convenient date. The Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Thailand assured that Thailand will continue its support to enhance collaboration and cooperation in combatting transnational crimes.
Bangladesh and Thailand agreed to hold the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) in Dhaka in 2023 at a mutually convenient time to review the whole range of bilateral trade and investment portfolio, and increase the volume and diversity of trade to its true potentials. Foreign Secretary requested the Thai side for easing trade regime of Thailand in the form of removal of non-tariff barriers, duty waiver/reduction etc. for Bangladeshi products to help achieve a better balance in the bilateral trade. The two sides agreed to seriously explore the prospects of an FTA to further augment the bilateral trade between the two friendly countries. Foreign Secretary also apprised the Thai side that qualitative feasibility study is being undertaken by Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh in this regard. By stressing the need for mutual accreditation and recognition of standards, Foreign Secretary expressed hope that the draft MoU on testing and standardization of products would be finalised at the earliest.
Mentionable that a 15-member business delegation is accompanying the Thai Permanent Secretary who are taking part in various business events including the just concluded Business Summit and the business matchmaking and networking with the Bangladeshi business leaders held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today. Foreign Secretary highly appreciated the presence of the Thai business delegation on the occasion of the 3rd FOC in Dhaka.
Thailand appreciated the high potential and lucrative areas for profitable investment in Bangladesh, both in unitary and joint venture formats. Both sides agreed to mobilize greater dynamism in the B2B institutional cooperation between trade bodies and joint chambers of the two countries.
Foreign Secretary appraised Thailand’s successes and experiences in the sectors of poultry, fisheries, and other agro-based industries and sought Thai Government’s cooperation in agro-based industries to develop capacity through training and technology transfer. He also suggested partnership and research related collaborations on aquaculture and marine biodiversity.
Foreign secretary appreciated the visit of Director General of South Asia and Central Asia Division, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand in the Cox’s Bazar Rohingya Camp the next day and called for a more proactive role by the Thai Government for ensuring voluntary, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya people currently sheltered in Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds.