Thailand is Bhutan’s third largest trading partner
To stimulate the existing trading and economic relations with Thailand, the second Joint Trade Committee meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 31st August. The Bhutanese delegation for the high-level committee meeting was led by Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, Minister of Economic Affairs and the Thai delegation was led by Mrs. Apiradi Tantrapon, Minister of Commerce.
During the meeting, the two countries reviewed and discussed the resolutions and commitments made during the previous Joint Trade Committee meeting and exchanged views on enhancing mutual economic cooperation and trade situations of both the countries.
Thailand has been listed as the third trading partner of Bhutan, with India at the top. According to the trade statistics from the Ministry, imports from Thailand reached Nu 1,486.722 million. The major goods imported from Thailand include heavy machineries and parts, passenger cars, IT equipments, polyethylene among others. At the moment Bhutan’s exports to Thailand contradict the imports from Thailand with only Nu 40.60 million worth of goods being exported. Exports to Thailand include Cordyceps sinensis, prefabricated buildings, statues, etc.
“The meeting is first led by the senior officials headed by secretaries and then by the ministers of the two countries. So discussions that take place at the senior official meeting level are being endorsed at the ministerial level meeting. Even if there are issues that could not be resolved at the senior official meeting level, it is being referred and resolved at the ministerial level,” said an official from the Department of Trade. The official added that since discussions are all at a preliminary stage, there were not many issues that required special attention and that the meeting was fruitful.
Discussions were also held on the means to enhance bilateral trade investments and economic cooperation in areas like hospitality, agriculture, and handicrafts. “During the meeting, we have been assured assistance from the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in the hospitality and tourism sector,” said the official.
The Joint Trade Committee meeting is an annual event and the first meeting was held in Thimphu last year. The next meeting will be held in the capital next year, with an alternative setting between the two countries.