FTA with Thailand ‘soon’

Thailand will complete the free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh ‘very soon’ after finalizing the draft by negotiators of two countries, outgoing ambassador said,

During a farewell call-on Foreign Minister Abul Momen on Thursday, Ambassador Arunrung Phothong Humphreysy also mentioned that trade, connectivity, energy and development cooperation were key priorities of her mission in Dhaka.

In the meeting Minister Momen mentioned Thailand as a trusted friend and partner with which Bangladesh enjoys strong bilateral relations since independence.

Minister noted that Thailand is an advanced economy and a development hub in the Asia Pacific region. Building physical connectivity and people-to-people contacts with that country is Bangladesh’s foreign policy priority.

Considering the popularity of Thailand as a destination for medical tourism, Momen said that it would be a win-win proposition for Thai entrepreneurs to set up joint venture hospitals in Bangladesh.

Minister thanked the ambassador for arranging the special flights between Dhaka and Bangkok and for medical evacuations during the corona pandemic.

She informed the Minister that a three year development programme is in the process of implementation with funding from Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA).

Agro-processing, rural development, environmental protection, women empowerment and human resource development are focus areas of the proposed TICA project.

Ambassador Humphreys informed that she would advise her successor to organize senior level visits between the two countries once the corona crisis is over.

Dr. Momen thanked Thailand for the humanitarian support extended to the Rohingyas and sought a pro-active role from both ASEAN and Thailand on the repatriation issue. He said that if the 1.1 million Rohingya people are left unattended and not given the opportunity to return to their homeland they would jeopardize regional and international security. He suggested that the ASEAN countries should in a body put pressure on Myanmar so that conducive environment is created in the Rakhine State and the Rohingyas can return home immediately.

The ambassador assured to flag Dhaka’s concerns on the Rohingya issues to the Thai government as well as the ASEAN leadership and expressed that this problem would be resolved soon. She thanked the Foreign Minister for the support extended to her mission during her assignment in Dhaka.

Foreign Minister sought Thailand’s support on Bangladesh’s candidature for ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner status.

The envoy also separately called on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen.


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