Thailand eyes partnership in infrastructure, connectivity initiatives with Bangladesh
Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh Makawadee Sumitmor has expressed optimism about forging Thailand’s partnership in several more infrastructure and connectivity initiatives as the two countries see momentum in their growing relations.
She mentioned the operation of direct coastal shipping between Chattogram and Ranong seaports that will save time, reduce logistics costs, link the Bay of Bengal with the Andaman coast and eventually enhance the economic competitiveness of both sides.
“I see a lot of opportunities ahead for further cooperation, bilaterally and multilaterally,” said Ambassador Sumitmor while speaking at a reception on Tuesday night marking the National Day of the Kingdom of Thailand.
She expressed optimism that trade and investment between the two countries will be bolstered to new heights.
Among the goals are to start the negotiation process of the free trade agreement (FTA) and to increase the current trade volume of 1.2 billion to 2 billion US dollars soon, said the Thai envoy.
Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, who joined the celebration as the chief guest, highlighted the growing cooperation between the two countries.
Every December 5, all Thais commemorate the legacy of the Late King, who dedicated 70 years of his reign to improving the livelihood of the Thai people.
“We managed to continue the momentum of political ties through the existing mechanism and the exchange of visits,” said the Thai ambassador,
In March, the Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Thailand visited Bangladesh to attend the 3rd bilateral consultations.
“One of the tangible outcomes was the exchange of diplomatic notes on the Air Service Agreement that helped increase the frequency and capacity of commercial flights. As of now, we have more than 30 direct flights a week between Dhaka and Bangkok to serve Bangladeshis who rank the 2nd largest group of tourists from South Asia to Thailand,” said Ambassador Sumitmor.
The ambassador said Thailand as the current chair of BIMSTEC is honoured to host the BIMSTEC Summit in 2024. “We envision an opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation and further promote the prosperity of member countries.”
The Thai private sector has ventured in Bangladesh since the 1990’s mainly in agro-business and infrastructure development.
“Thailand is proud that a Thai company took part in the completion of the Dhaka Metro Rail and the Dhaka Elevated Expressway inaugurated in December 2022 and September 2023 respectively,” she said.
In the social development field, Sumitmor said, the Child and Youth Development Programme under the patronage of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand has expanded to cover five primary schools in Bangladesh.
The project aims to share best practices in improving the nutrition and health conditions of children among participating schools in 10 countries.
She commended Bangladesh for its efforts in providing humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and said Thailand will continue to render support to Bangladesh and the international community to ensure a safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation.
“At the same time, we are interested in deepening cooperation in issues of common concern and mutual benefits such as climate change, Blue Economy and agricultural development,” she said.
Politicians, business leaders, Dhaka-based diplomats and editors were present.