The president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Mahbubul Alam, recently said Bangladesh and Thailand must take action to reduce the existing trade deficit.
"In 2019, Bangladesh imported goods worth $973 million from Thailand and exported products worth $74.8 million. To reduce such a huge trade deficit, we must organise exhibitions and trade shows regularly," he added during a meeting with the newly appointed Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh, Makawadee Sumitmor.
The meeting was held on 29 September at the Bangabandhu Conference Hall of the World Trade Center in the port city.
Alam said trading activity between Chattogram port and Ranong Port of Thailand would have been easier if the two ports had direct transportation facilities by sea. Such facilities would have reduced the transportation time to three or four days and halved transportation costs, he added.
Alam requested the Thai ambassador's assistance in the recommencement of the recruitment of some 50,000 Bangladeshi workers in Thailand's fisheries sector. He also requested the ambassador's help in implementing Thai investment of $250 million in Bangladesh's energy sector, already declared.
Alam also urged the ambassador to resume direct flights from Chattogram to the Thai cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Thai Ambassador Makawadee Sumitmor responded positively to Alam's requests. She hoped the CCCI will help implement the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Bangladesh and Thailand.
The ambassador also said a roadshow may take place next year to accelerate trading between the two countries.
The Thai Ambassador expressed hope of reducing the quarantine period from 14 days to seven days for anyone travelling to Thailand from Bangladesh which would help attract more Bangladeshi travellers to Thailand. The situation will improve as the Covid-19 situation gets better, she added.
The vice president of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Syed Mohammad Tanvir, Director of the CCCI, Anjan Shekhar Das, and Chief Executive of the Bangladesh Center of Excellence, Wasfi Tamim, spoke at the event among others.