High tariffs on Thai items stifle exports to Bangladesh: Trade envoy

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Thailand seeks to achieve a $2-billion trade target with Bangladesh soon, according to Thai trade counselor in Dhaka Khemathat Archawathamrong, who recently said Thailand has earlier shown interest in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh as tariff and non-tariff barriers stand in the way of boosting trade between the two countries.

Khemathat said that high tariffs on Thai products are stifling exports to Bangladesh to the desired level in spite of high demand.

A meeting between the two sides scheduled slated for December last year got postponed, he said. Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $1,280.24 million in 2021 as against $910.05 million in 2020—a 40 per cent growth.

Thailand seeks to achieve a $2-billion trade target with Bangladesh soon, according to Thai trade counselor in Dhaka Khemathat Archawathamrong, who recently said Thailand has earlier shown interest in signing a free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh as tariff and non-tariff barriers stand in the way of boosting trade between the two countries.

Trade deficit between the two countries was recorded at $1,171.57 million last year. Thai exports to Bangladesh stood at $1,225.91 million, while Bangladesh’s export to Thailand was only $54.34 million.

Bangladesh export basket is heavily dependent on readymade garments, comprising over 80 per cent of the country’s export earnings.

The Thai trade counselor urged Bangladesh to diversify its export basket and reduce the trade deficit, according to Bangla media reports.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, both sides had set a target of $2 billion for 2020 during their joint trade commission (JTC) meeting held in Bangkok that year, Khemathat said.

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The bilateral trade between two countries stood at $1,067.90 million in 2019, which dropped to $910.05 million in 2020. 

Thailand exports refined fuels, polymers of ethylene, propylene in primary forms, cement, woven fabrics, chemical products, yarn and man-made filaments, motor cars, parts and accessories, synthetic filament and staple fibres, iron and steel products and rubber products.

Both the countries in December 2021 signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate trade by enhancing maritime connectivity between the two countries.

The coastal shipping, under the MoU, between the Ranong port and the Chattogram port will help boost bilateral trade through reducing the transportation time between Thailand and Bangladesh.

At present, 12-15 days are required to send cargoes from Chittagong to Thailand which can be lowered to only four days with a direct shipping service. The transportation cost will also be halved as vessels will have to spend one-third of the current time requirement.

Additionally, instead of going through the rough sea, the direct vessels will run through coastal routes, thus even small vessels will be able to transport cargoes to Ranong Port, the closest Thai port to Chittagong.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)



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