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PM Sheikh Hasina seeks Thai investment in Bangladesh medical facilities

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged Thailand to explore investment opportunities in Bangladesh’s hospitals and medical facilities alongside investing in special economic zones and hi-tech parks.

“We discussed the possibility of cooperation on training and capacity building for Bangladeshi medical personnel. I also proposed him (Thai PM) to explore the possibility of investing in hospitals and medical facilities in Bangladesh,” she said.

The Bangladesh premier said this in a joint press conference after a bilateral meeting with her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin at the Government House, the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, here.

Following the bilateral meeting and a t^te-…-t^te (one-to-one meeting), five bilateral documents – an agreement, three memorandum of understanding MoU) and a letter of intent (LOI) – were signed in presence of the two prime ministers.

Mentioning that Bangladesh attaches great importance to relations with Thailand as an immediate neighbour, Sheikh Hasina said, “Our friendship is deeply rooted in our historical, linguistic, and common cultural heritage. The warm and cordial relations between our two countries are ever-growing in multi-faceted areas of cooperation.”

In the bilateral meeting, the two leaders discussed in detail the bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest. “We see Thailand as a very important and dynamic partner in our engagement with the vibrant economies of Southeast Asia,” said the premier.

On trade cooperation, they discussed at length measures to enhance the current volume of the bilateral trade and agreed to work together to achieve healthy two-way growth.

“I assured the Prime Minister (Thavisin) to take the necessary measures for investment facilitation and ease of doing business in Bangladesh. I proposed to the Thai side to invest in our special economic zones and hi-tech parks and to take one SEZ, exclusively for Thailand,” said Sheikh Hasina.

Mentioning that the two sides agreed to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the year 2024, she said the concerned ministers of commerce of the two countries have signed a letter of intent (LOI) on the issue.

To facilitate smooth contact between Thai and Bangladeshi officials, Dhaka and Bangkok signed the Agreement on Visa Exemption for Holders of Official Passports, she said, adding that the two countries already have an agreement for diplomatic passport holders.

“For Bangladesh, Thailand is a potential partner to engage in energy cooperation. To explore the potential of energy cooperation, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Energy Cooperation was the second instrument signed,” she said.

A third MoU has been signed on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters. “To benefit from Thai knowledge, experiences, and best tourism practices, we signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of tourism,” said the premier.

To ensure food security for the people, the two sides explored the possibility of collaboration in the agriculture and food processing sectors, she added.

Regarding maritime connectivity, Sheikh Hasina said the two sides discussed the direct shipping line between Ranong Port and Chattogram Port. Bangladesh is following with great interest Thailand’s flagship “Landbridge project”, continued.

She said, “I proposed to the Thai side to enhance cooperation among specialized universities between the two countries, especially in agriculture, fisheries, and food processing.”

The two prime ministers also discussed regional cooperation mechanisms under the BIMSTEC framework. Thailand, as the current chair and host of the Summit to be held later this year, will hand over the chairmanship to Bangladesh.

“We firmly believe that BIMSTEC is a key driver of regional economic growth for a total population of 1.8 billion. To achieve a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh sought the support of Thailand,” she said.

She reiterated the importance of high-level visits between the two countries.

Sheikh Hasina also invited Prime Minister Thavisin to undertake a return visit to Bangladesh.

Earlier, on her arrival at Government House, Sheikh Hasina was received by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and then she was accorded a warm welcome at the front lawn of Thai Kooh Fah Building there.

The Bangladesh Prime Minister inspected the guard of honor given by a smartly turned out contingent of the Thai armed forces.

Srettha Thavisin introduced his cabinet members to Sheikh Hasina before she signed the guest book of the Government House.

The two leaders also had a tete-a-tete (one-to-one meeting) there.

Sheikh Hasina later joined an official luncheon before leaving the Government House.

On Wednesday (April24), the Bangladesh premier arrived here on a six-day official visit to Thailand at the invitation of her Thai counterpart.