Bangladesh has numerous promising sectors for investment due to its cost competitiveness, strategic location and the incentive packages offered by the government. This has attracted Thai entrepreneurs to invest in the country and exploit its colossal business potential for which Thai entrepreneurs are in talks with some of the Bangladeshi businessmen.
Chokedee Kaewsang, deputy secretary general of Thailand Board of Investment said that as part of the efforts, they held a discussion with the leaders of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Dhaka.
Thailand has been keeping up good relations with Bangladesh over the years and more collaboration between the private companies of the two countries will indubitably boost bilateral trade.
The 17-member Thai business delegation that is now visiting Bangladesh expressed their interest to invest in a number of sectors, including textiles and garments, agri-machinery, pharmaceutical and cold storage, to grab local and global markets.
According to Phasit Chudabuddhi, counsellor of the Thai embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh needs to take more promotional activities to attract foreign investment. Many Thai companies will set up businesses in the country if Bangladesh can present it as an attractive investment destination.
Syed Nasim Manzur, president of MCCI, urged the Thai companies to establish factories in Bangladesh to make most use of the duty- and quota-free market access that the country now enjoys as a least-developed country.
Bangladesh mainly imports textile, vegetables, mineral, plastic, rubber, paper board from Thailand and exports jute goods, woven and knit garments, frozen foods and agro-products.
MCCI also urged the Thai government to offer duty- and quota-free market access for Bangladeshi products. If the country allows duty- and quota-free facility for the products to its market, Bangladesh's exports to the country will increase significantly.
Presently, the Bangladeshi exporters pay on an average 30 percent to 45 percent duty on export of woven and knitwear products to Thailand and export duties for other products are also high, ranging from 5 percent to 45 percent, the chamber said in a statement.
Dhaka has recently sought duty- and quota-free market access for 24 products, mainly garments, to Bangkok in a bid to boost exports to Thailand and increase bilateral trade.
Bangladesh has the potential to become an investment destination for Thai investors, especially in the textile, agro-processing, leather, energy and tourism sectors. Thai investors can utilize the low infrastructure cost and cheap labour in Bangladesh, said Anis A Khan, vice president of the chamber.
Bilateral trade amounted to $780.61 million in 2013-14 with only $39.61 million of exports to Thailand from Bangladesh. During July-September period of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh's exports were amounted to $7.74 million.
The preferential access is likely to facilitate the two countries to reach the target to double the bilateral trade by 2016, set by the prime ministers of the two countries.
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