Thailand keen to invest in BD’s renewable energy, tourism, food sectors

FE Report

Bangladesh and Thailand consider each other a gateway to Southeast Asia and South Asia region to expand trade and business showing a good number of areas of interest for investment for the economic benefit of the two countries.
When Bangladesh wants to export its textile, pharmaceutical, jute, handicraft, food and frozen food products to Thailand, Thai policymakers and investors have showed interest to invest in Bangladesh’s renewable energy, tourism, food sectors etc to double the trade volume from less than a billion dollar.
The views were shared during sector-based sessions organised as part of the Bangladesh Trade and Investment Expo 2016 that began in Bangkok on Monday.
Commerce ministers of the two countries jointly inaugurated the event in presence of three other ministers of Bangladesh and high government officials and chamber leaders of Thailand.
During the sector-based panel discussion sessions, the scope of establishing coastal link between Bangladesh and Thailand has also been explored as it would cut the shipment cost and time for both the countries.
The issues of easing visa processing, and providing duty-free quota-free facility to some major export items of Bangladesh have also come up at the sessions for discussion.
From Bangladesh, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority Paban Chowdhury, Senior Secretary of Commerce Ministry Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, Director General (Power Cell) Mohammad Hossain, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board Akhteruz Zaman Khan Kabir, Managing Director of Incepta Pharmaceuticals Ltd Abdul Muktadir, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Energypac Humayun Rashid, MD and CEO of Eastern Bank Ali Reza Iftekhar and Director of Kazi and Kazi Tea Kazi Enam Ahmed, MD of Western Marine Shipyard Saiful Islam, CEO of Shinepukur Ceramic Mohammad Humayun Kabir and MD of Hatil Furniture M Firoz Al Mamun took part in the discussion sessions.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim attended two separate sessions as the guest of honour. Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand Saida Muna Tasneem moderated the sessions.
From Thailand, Vice Minister of Ministry of Industry Pornchai Tarkulwaranont, MD of Government Pharmaceutical Organisation Dr NoppornCheanklin, Deputy Director General of Thailand Board of Investment Chokedee Kaewsang, Assistant DG of Department of International Trade Promotion Somdet Susomboon, President of Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of Thailand Stanley Kang, Chairman and CEO of Inter Far East Wind International Company Ltd Dr Sumet Sutapukti, among others, shared their views.
The Bangladesh Embassy and Export Promotion Bureau organised the first-ever trade and investment expo in Thailand, an important ASEAN member country, to celebrate the 44th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship.
State Minister Shahriar Alam said geographical and strategic proximity of Bangladesh and Thailand help bridge South Asia and Southeast Asia and investing in Bangladesh will help Thailand to get physical connectivity within the region and sub-region.
Paban Chowdhury highlighted the government initiatives to provide land to investors in special economic zones and said Bangladesh in comparison to many other countries is providing competitive benefits to the investors.
Thai Vice Minister Pornchai highlighted the potential of establishing direct coastal shipping which would cut one-third shipping cost and said Thailand needs western gate to Asia for promoting trade and business.
Bangladesh Ambassador Muna said efforts have already been made to resume thousand-year-old trading link between Bangladesh and Thailand through sea route and the blue economy is also a potential area of cooperation between the two countries.
Highlighting the potential of textile exports to Thailand, Rubana Huq said Bangladesh has target to grow 13 to 25 per cent shifting skills of T-shirt to value added products and Thailand can contribute in this regard as it only imports 2 per cent of its ready-made garment items from Bangladesh.
The MD of Incepta Pharmaceutical said Bangladesh is now confident of producing high quality products using state-of-the-art technology, and highly skilled human resources etc. Many recognized certification authorities of the US, the UK and the European Union certified pharmaceutical products.
Somdet Susomboon of Department of International Trade Promotion said Thailand sees Bangladesh’s scope as the next member of ASEAN which will open up trade and business scope with more than 33 chambers.
Stanley Kang of Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce said his country has strong textile production but hoped that cooperation of Bangladesh is possible in making production more functional.
Chairman of Inter Far East Wind International which has business establishment in developed countries including Japan has shown interest to invest in the renewable energy sector. He said his company is interested to utilize renewable sources in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong region.
As part of the three-day expo, business-to-business meetings were also held on the sidelines of the daylong panel discussions. More than 50 companies from Bangladesh including Apex Weaving and Finishing Mills, Square Pharma, Shinepukur Ceramics, Hatil, SK+F, Akij Jute Mill, Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, Jute Diversification Promotion Centre, Prokritee, Classical Handmade products, RMM Leather Industries, BHIS Apparels showcased their products.
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Source: The Financial Express


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