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Dhaka Tribune

Thai-Bangladesh trade posts over 40% growth in 2021

39,354 Bangladeshis visited the Southeast Asian country during the January-August period

Update : 08 Oct 2022, 10:03 PM

With Thailand and Bangladesh slowly overcoming the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the trade relations between the two countries posted over 40% growth in 2021 compared to the previous year 2020, sources said.

Thai exports to Bangladesh were recorded at $1231.9 million while Bangladesh’s export to Thailand was recorded at only $54.84 million in the 2021 calendar year, according to the statistics of the Thai trade commission.    

Thai export to Bangladesh was recorded at $859.23 million in 2020 while Bangladesh’s export to Thailand was recorded at $50.82 million during the same year. The bilateral trade between Bangladesh-Thailand recorded $1067.9 million in 2019, $1259.45 million in 2018 and $1317.43 million in the 2017 calendar year.   

The World Bank (WB) also forecast 3.1% growth in the Thai economy this year while the growth is expected to post 4.1% in 2023.

While talking to this correspondent, a director of the Thai-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TBCCI) said Bangladesh’s export basket is highly dependent on readymade garments that share over 80% of the country’s exports.

Bangladesh's export earnings crossed $52.08 billion in the outgoing fiscal year 2021-22 on the back of a record shipment by the readymade garments sector.

In July-June, the country's apparel shipments recorded $43.34 billion, sharing more than 81% of the country's exports, according to sources at the EPB.

Knitwear and woven apparel exports reached $23.21 billion and $19.19 billion respectively.

Thai Trade Counsellor in Dhaka Khemathat Archawathamrong while talking to this correspondent said that Thailand is eager to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh to give a boost to bilateral trade. 

However, sources in the Bangladesh Trade and Tariff Commission (BTTC) said that Bangladesh is unlikely to sign FTA with countries in Southeast and South Asia except for Bhutan before the national election.       

Meanwhile, with Thailand lifting travel restrictions on international tourists across the world, the number of Bangladeshi tourists also gradually increased to the Southeast Asian country. 

During the period of January to August this year, a total of 39,354 Bangladeshis visited Thailand against a total of 4378,920 international tourists who visited the country.  

Meanwhile, the Thai Ambassador to Bangladesh Makawadee Sumitmor recently highlighted the 50 years of Dhaka-Bangkok ties and deep friendship between the two countries through tourism, trade, and culture at a three-day travel exhibition of the Asian countries.

The ninth Asian Tourism Fair (ATF Dhaka) was held at the International Convention City in Dhaka's Bashundhara from September 29 to October 1.

"Our participation at the Asian Tourism Fair (ATF Dhaka) 2022 was more than what we expected and we are very happy and thankful to our Bangladeshi partners. TAT plans to engage more with travel agents, associations, and consumers in Bangladesh," said, Vachirachai Sirisumpan, director of TAT New Delhi office and in charge of the Bangladesh market.

Meanwhile, as the economy of Bangladesh growing substantially over the last 20 years, Bangladesh has become a major contributor to the Thai medical tourism sector.

The data can be seen in a visualized statistic published by the Visual Capitalist with data from the IMF.

About 4,300 Bangladeshi citizens contributed some 6.7 billion Thai baht to the economy of Thailand in 2019, according to sources of the Ministries of Tourism and Sports, said a Thai diplomat in Dhaka recently.      

According to sources, 85% of total outbound Bangladeshi patients get treatment in India, some 10% in Thailand and the rest in Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, USA and China.

According to Thai immigration, a total of 139,622 Bangladeshi tourists visited Thailand in the last few years, including 21,817 in 2020, 1,955 in 2021 and 6,319 during the January-June period of 2022.

Thailand expects tourist numbers to more than triple to nearly 1 million per month from October as the nation lifts most of the pandemic-era travel restrictions.

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